published Friday, September 5th, 2014

Accused toddler killer Justin Dale Bradley in court this morning

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    Justin Dale Bradley, 23, was charged with criminal homicide in the death of Dakota Arndt. He also faces charges of assault and violating a protective order in connection with Dakota's mother, Brianna Kwekel.

The Soddy Daisy man accused of beating his girlfriend's toddler to death made his first appearance in court this morning.

Justin Dale Bradley, 23, appeared before Sessions Court Judge David Bales for an arraignment -- a formal reading of his charges. Bradley is next scheduled to come to court on Sept. 30 for a preliminary hearing, when prosecutors will present evidence and try to convince the judge to send Bradley's case to the Hamilton County Grand Jury.

The grand jury will then decide whether prosecutors have enough evidence to bring the case to Hamilton County Criminal Court.

Bradley is accused of beating 3-year-old Dakota Arndt to death. When Dakota's uncle, Cliff Smith, returned to his Soddy Daisy home at 10710 Jenkins Circle on the night of Aug. 27, he heard Bradley yelling, "Wake up!"

According to an incident report, Bradley then ran out of the bathroom carrying Dakota's limp body. He told the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office that he threw the boy in an empty bathtub because Dakota refused to get inside.

The sheriff's office charged Bradley with criminal homicide.

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