Mother Charged In Daughter's Death On Day Of Funeral

WARREN, Ohio (AP) - A woman has been charged with deliberately killing her 6-year-old daughter by running her over with a car.

The funeral service for Samantha Mae Martin was held Tuesday in Austintown in northeast Ohio.

Sherry Marie Delker, 27, of Austintown, appeared Saturday before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos and pleaded innocent to aggravated murder. She was ordered jailed without bond.

Police said Delker (pictured, above) told a state trooper that she killed her daughter to send her to a better place because "they were trying to take her baby away" and "to stop the abuse."

Delker's attorney Anthony Consoldane said he was told his client has been diagnosed with a mental illness. He did not know if she was taking her medication.

Delker's boyfriend, Roger Anderson, denied a statement by Delker to police that the boyfriend "didn't want to date a woman with children." Anderson said he had considered marrying Delker.

According to an affidavit filed by Weathersfield police Chief Joseph Consiglio, the girl had signs of recent sexual abuse.

Anderson said he was unaware of any sexual abuse.

County officials said there had been no investigation of allegations of child sexual abuse before the girl's death.

Delker is accused of running over the girl on Friday with her Chevrolet Lumina, then driving her to a clinic in Austintown. The girl later was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, where she died.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)