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Harford man charged in death of 2-year-old Havre de Grace girl

Brenton Mills
(Courtesy Havre de Grace Police)

A man has been charged with second-degree murder in relation to the death of a 2-year-old Havre de Grace girl nearly a year ago.

Brenton John Alexander Mills, 25, of the 1700 block of Fountain Rock Way, is also charged with first- and second-degree child abuse and first-degree assault. He is being held without bond at the Harford County Detention Center after a bail review Monday morning.

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Mills was initially held without bond following his arrest last Friday. His public defender, Steve Hackett, acknowledged the serious charges against Mills during the bail review hearing in District Court in Bel Air, but he asked Judge Mimi Cooper to set a “reasonable bail.” Mills is a high school graduate, and he does not have a record of prior failures to appear in court or criminal convictions, Hackett noted.

Cooper ordered that Mills remain in jail without bond, “given the nature of the charges” against the defendant, however.

There also were some discrepancies noted in court about Mills’ correct address. It is listed as the 1700 block of Fountain Rock Way in Edgewood, but Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Tabone said police could not locate the suspect there, and some people said he did not live at the residence.

Mills had been living with the mother of the victim, 2-year-old Aubrey Hickman, when the incident happened, according to Tabone.

Havre de Grace Police and other emergency personnel responded to the 600 block of Green Street on Jan. 7 for a report of a medical emergency for a 2-year-old female. The child was flown to Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, where she died Jan. 11.

Officers noticed signs of injury while rendering aid to Aubrey in her home and contacted the Havre de Grace Criminal Investigations. Detectives in that unit began an investigation into potential child abuse, according to a news release from the department.

Aubrey had been struck in the head hard enough to cause her brain to swell, Tabone said in court.

Following her death, Aubrey was taken to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, which ruled her death a homicide.

After an 11-month investigation, Havre de Grace detectives formally filed charges against Mills Dec. 19 and, at approximately 12:30 p.m. Friday, with assistance from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, arrested him at the Fountain Rock Way residence in Edgewood.

Mills was arrested in Ohio on Dec. 10, Tabone said Monday; the prosecutor alleged the suspect fled to The Buckeye State once he learned police in Harford County were preparing to arrest him in Aubrey’s death.

“I believe, at the time, he knew that was coming,” said Tabone, who noted the warrant for Mills’ arrest was issued Dec. 19 but not served until last Friday.

Mills, who appeared for the hearing via video link from the county jail, denied he went to Ohio to avoid prosecution. He claimed he went out there to pick up a Christmas gift he purchased online through eBay.

“I’ve been fully cooperating this whole time,” Mills said.

The defendant elected to have a preliminary hearing, which is scheduled for Jan. 28, according to online court records.

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Havre de Grace Police said the investigation is ongoing and no additional details were being released.

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