TOPEKA (KSNT)- A case involving the rape and murder of five-year old Zoey Felix is moving forward.

A motion hearing date has been set for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 13 , according to court records released Tuesday. Mickel Cherry, a 25-year old man charged with capital murder in Felix’s death, is expected to appear in court.

Cherry will be backed by the Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit. The special unit is part of the public defender system in the state, and was established when the state revived the death penalty in 1994.

“Anytime someone is charged with capital murder, and they face the potential for the death penalty, and they cannot afford counsel, a public defender is appointed… but, because death is different and the death penalty cases are complex, qualified, specially trained public defenders with experience in death penalty litigation, need to be assigned to those cases,” Mark Manna, Chief Defender for the unit told Kansas Capitol Bureau in an interview Tuesday.

Cherry was arrested by the Topeka Police Department on Oct. 3, the day after Zoey Felix was declared dead. This marked the beginning of Topeka’s 26th homicide investigation for 2023.

Cherry was charged by the Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office on Oct. 5. His charges include:

  • Capital murder; commission of rape, aggravated criminal sodomy, and/or criminal sodomy
  • Murder in the first degree; inherently dangerous felony
  • Rape; child under 14, offender 18 or over

The charge of capital murder carries with it the possibility Cherry could be sentenced to the death penalty in Kansas if he is found guilty.