‘I’m Sorry I Did This’: Man on Trial for Kidnapping Kamille ‘Cupcake’ McKinney Allegedly Texted a Family Member, Prosecutor Says

Prosecutors on Tuesday laid out their case for the first of two suspects charged in federal court with kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap a minor, relating to the kidnapping and death of 3-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney in October 2019.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, McKinney was kidnapped from a birthday party on October 12, 2019, in Birmingham. Witnesses reported seeing a man handing out candy put the barefoot little girl into his car and drive away.

Ten days later, the little girl’s body was found at the Santek Waste Services Landfill in Gardendale, taken there in a construction dumpster from an apartment complex next to the building where suspects Patrick Stallworth and Derick Irisha Brown lived. In addition to the federal charges, both Stallworth and Brown were indicted on state charges of capital murder during a kidnapping and capital murder of a child under the age of 14.

Stallworth, 42, is the first to stand trial. During opening statements on Tuesday, Lloyd Peeples, chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Criminal Division, told jurors that prosecutors planned to present evidence ranging from DNA, photographs, and cell phone data to surveillance cameras, license plate readers, and witness testimony, AL.com reported. And, he said, there would be the words of Stallworth himself.

“I’m sorry I did this. It was an accident. That poor baby’s family,” Stallworth  allegedly texted to a family member 10 days after McKinney’s body was found, Peeples said.

Prosecutors also plan to show jurors photographs from when the little girl’s body was found and from the autopsy — “pictures that no person should have to look at, pictures that Kamille’s mom still hasn’t even seen,” he said.

Patrick Stallworth and Derick Irisha Brown

Since their arrests, Stallworth and Brown and have blamed each other for McKinney’s death, and Stallworth’s attorney, Derrick Collins, continued that line in his opening remarks, telling the jurors that prosecutors must prove his client guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt.

“They can’t,” he said. “The government’s case has doubt all through it. This man didn’t do what they’re alleging.”

It was entirely Brown, he said, a mother who lost custody of all six of her children to the Department of Human Resources.

“She had gone without her children over a year,” Collins said.

Stallworth, he said, made two mistakes: He loved Brown and he lied to police.

McKinney’s mother, April Thomas, was the first and only witness to testify after the opening statements. She told the jury she and her daughter had gone to watch her brother’s football game and then to the birthday party. She asked her son Amari to find Kamille when it was time to leave.

“He came in panicky and said he couldn’t find her,” Thomas testified. “I found her shoes. I knew something was wrong.”

Testimony will resume on Wednesday. Brown’s federal trial is set to begin on November 14. Trial dates have not been set for the state charges.

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[Featured Photo: Kamille McKinney/Facebook]