Preliminary hearing set for man accused of murder

A preliminary hearing has been set for next month for a Marshalltown man accused of killing a 3-year-old girl.

The hearing is slated for Sept. 2 for Branden M. Collins, 28, who is being held in the Marshall County Jail on a $1 million cash only bond and is charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment.

According to the Marshalltown Police Department, Collins was initially arrested Thursday and charged with child endangerment, after paramedics responded to a report of an unresponsive child Wednesday at 907 S. 11th Ave. The girl, Jossilyn Starn, 3, was taken to Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center, and then transferred by air ambulance to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines where she died Friday afternoon from the head-related injuries she allegedly received on Wednesday.

According to police, Collins, the live-in boyfriend of the girl’s mother, Jennifer Starn, was watching Jossilyn and two other children at the time of the incident.

According to a police report, Collins had picked the child up over his head and slammed her on the wood floor causing serious head injuries.

Collins told the judge he voluntarily went to the police station to do a polygraph test and was questioned for five hours.

After the incident the MPD was notified by hospital officials after they discovered the girl’s injuries and law enforcement began an investigation into the incident in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Initially, Collins was charged with child endangerment, a Class C felony, as well as misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, after Marshalltown detectives and a special agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation brought him in for questioning.

Those charges against Collins were later upgraded Friday afternoon to include first-degree murder, a Class A felony, as well as a Class B felony charge of child endangerment, after the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office notified the MPD that the girl had died from the head injuries she received on Wednesday.

Collins will have an opportunity for a bond appeal hearing in the days ahead.