CHRISTIANSBURG — McKenzie Kyle Hellman is mentally competent to stand trial for the beating death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son, attorneys said Thursday during a short hearing in Montgomery County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Hellman, 25, of Christiansburg, is charged with felony murder and an array of sexual abuse and child pornography charges tied to the Jan. 13 death of Steven Dale Meek II. The felony murder charge indicates that prosecutors think a victim died during the commission of another felony.
Steven’s mother, Kayla Nicole Thomas, 26, also of Christiansburg, also faces sexual abuse and child pornography charges.
Judge Philip Trompeter scheduled a Dec. 20 preliminary hearing for Hellman.
In May, attorney Fred Kellerman of Christiansburg, who is representing Hellman, requested an evaluation to look into what he said were “profound issues” with Hellman’s mental health. On Thursday, Kellerman and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Cristina Agee said that the evaluation had been completed and Hellman was found to be mentally competent.
The charges against Hellman and Thomas came after a Jan. 11 emergency call that Steven had fallen. According to police statements, emergency workers found Steven on the living room floor of the residence that Hellman and Thomas shared.
Steven had no pulse but a police officer and medics were able to restart his heart, police have said. Steven died two days later in Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. The state medical examiner’s office found that the boy died from a blunt force injury to the head and designated his death as a homicide.
Sexual abuse and charges of making child pornography followed, after investigators seized electronic devices and other items from Hellman and Thomas.
Besides the murder charge, Hellman is accused of child abuse, two counts of aggravated sexual battery of a child younger than 13, solicitation of a child younger than 15 for sexual purposes, accessory to forcible sodomy of a child younger than 13, accessory to inanimate object penetration of a child younger than 13, accessory before the fact to producing child pornography, accessory before the fact to distributing child pornography, and possessing child pornography.
Thomas is charged with sodomy of her son, inanimate object penetration of a person younger than 13, production of child pornography involving a child younger than 15, possession and distribution of child pornography, and child abuse and neglect. She has a plea hearing scheduled for March 18 in the county’s Circuit Court.
Steven was not Hellman’s son, and Thomas and the boy’s father shared custody of him, police have said.