Affidavit: Teen girl killed in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood was found inside trash can

Victim’s brother, Darsean Kelley, facing first-degree murder charges
Posted at 5:02 PM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-28 03:24:31-05

DENVER – The body of a 17-year-old teenage girl allegedly killed by her older brother in northeast Denver was found stuffed in a duffel bag that was thrown inside a trash can at the family’s residence, an affidavit in the case revealed Friday.

On Thursday, Denver Police Department officers were dispatched to a home near the intersection of Troy St. and E. 50th Ave. in the Montbello neighborhood on a medical call. When police arrived, they found a relative being consoled in the front yard by a neighbor. Next to her, they found the lifeless body of 17-year-old girl Marnee Kelley-Mills lying on the ground to the left of the driveway next to an overturned trash can, the affidavit states.

Police documents show Marnee was found with “what appeared to be sharp force injuries to her neck,” and she was pronounced deceased. While the responding officer was speaking with the relative, who was only identified as a woman, she told him she believed 25-year-old Darsean Kelley might be responsible in the girl’s murder, according to the affidavit.

The probable cause statement shows officers then checked the inside of the home to make sure no other people were inside and secured the perimeter as a crime scene, taking the woman to Denver Police Headquarters so she could be interviewed.

The affidavit states the woman told police she had received a phone call from Marnee's school notifying her the 17-year-old girl had missed class that day, and when she arrived home to look for the girl, she couldn’t find her and did not see anything out of place at the home. The woman also told police she called several people, including family members, as well as Kelley and the girl, but both of them did not answer their phones.

The documents state the woman also told police during the interview that Kelley had mental issues and that “he should be taking medication.” Additionally, she told him Kelley and Marnee would often argue and that Kelley had recently threatened to kill Marnee, something that made the girl fear Kelley which would eventually lead to the girl asking the woman to kick him out of the house.

As she continued to look around the home for Marnee, the woman noticed there was a stain in the driveway, that the trash cans had been moved and that a hose had recently been used, the documents state.

Arresting document state that when the woman began looking through the trash can, she found a white trash bag with soda cans and junk food wrappers, which she identified as being from Kelley’s room.

A gruesome discovery would follow.

“Directly under this trash bag [redacted] found a black trash bag which contained a black duffel bag. [Redacted] unzipped the duffel bag and when she searched the bag she found [redacted] deceased inside the bag,” the affidavit states.

The woman told police she had left for work at around 11:30 p.m. the night before, on Wednesday, and that the only two people at the home were the Marnee and Kelley. The woman then told police she suspected Kelley was the one who killed his sister, according to the probable cause statement.

Another officer assigned to the case reviewed doorbell video from the previous night which showed a man who appeared to be Kelley dragging a black bag to the trash can and putting the bag, which was later found to contain the body of the 17-year-old girl, into the trash can, the document show.

The woman told police she was certain the person on the video was Kelley, the affidavit states.

According to the probable cause statement, “Based on the video the bag was very heavy as the suspect struggled to drag and to get the bag into the trash can.”

Kelley was arrested Thursday in the area of Chambers and Mexico and was taken to Denver Police Headquarters on investigation of first-degree murder.

Police documents state that when Kelley was being photographed, an officer noted suspected blood on top of his left big toe.

Kelley was taken to the Denver Downtown Detention Center.

The suspect was previously charged with a felony robbery case in 2017, which ended up as a misdemeanor theft and was sentenced to two years probation. In 2016, Kelley was charged with a family offense, wrongs to minors - which was dismissed - but he was found guilty of assault and sentenced to one year of supervised probation and 60 days in jail. Aurora police also charged him with disorderly conduct in 2016, which was dismissed. And in 2015, he was charged with obstructing police and resisting arrest, which was also dismissed.

In 2017, the City of Aurora paid Kelley $110,000 after police used a Taser on him while detaining him without telling him why a year prior. The ACLU, which took up he case, released the police camera video of his arrest, which happened on Feb. 19, 2016. According to the ACLU, Kelley and his cousin were walking along 14th Avenue when police stopped them.