Milwaukee mother pleads guilty in connection with shooting death of her 9-year-old daughter

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Marcel Jelks and Talisha Lee

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee mother charged in connection with the death of her daughter has reached a plea deal in the case against her.

Talisha Lee, 30, pleaded guilty Monday, Feb. 11 to one count of neglecting a child, consequence is death, as party to a crime. A second charge was dismissed as a result of the plea deal. Lee will be sentenced on April 30.

Marcel Jelks faces three charges in the case:

  • Neglecting a child, consequence is death, as party to a crime, habitual criminality repeater
  • Possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony, habitual criminality repeater
  • Possession with intent to deliver THC, less than 200 grand, habitual criminality repeater

He’s due in court for a status conference Feb. 15.

Miyanna Jelks

Miyanna Jelks, 9, died on March 10 from a gunshot wound.

According to prosecutors, Lee provided conflicting statements about what happened on that morning. She first indicated Marcel Jelks ran to the grocery store, leaving her home near 38th and Ruby with the six children (ages 1-10). She said when Jelks returned home, he found Miyanna on the floor with a gunshot wound.

When Marcel Jelks was questioned by police and confronted with inconsistencies between his story and Lee’s, “Jelks came clean and admitted that both he and defendant Lee left the six children home alone.” Jelks said the two “went shopping for clothes.” Jelks also told police Lee had just purchased a 9mm Smith and Wesson the previous day, the criminal complaint said.

Later, police questioned one of the children in the house, a brother. He told investigators Jelks and Lee left their home to go shopping. The complaint said while the children were left home alone, the brother went to check on Miyanna. He told police he “observed Miyanna with a gun.” The brother then took the gun from Miyanna and removed the magazine. The complaint said as Miyanna was spinning around the room, the brother “began waving the gun around.” He apparently “pulled the trigger, the gun fired and Miyanna immediately fell to the ground.” The brother told investigators he ran after Miyanna, “tried to get her to wake up,” and then put the gun away. A short time later, Jelks and Lee returned home. They rushed the child to the hospital, where she died.


The complaint also indicated “a red gun lock was located inside the residence on top of a shoebox. Neither defendant used the gun lock to secure the 9mm.”

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