Jerice Hunter, mother of missing Ariz. girl Jesse Shockley, pleads not guilty in 5-year-old's murder
The Arizona Republic reports that Hunter pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and child abuse of her daughter, who has been missing for nearly a year.
Investigators believe Shockley's body was disposed of days before Hunter reported her missing Oct. 11 and told police that she left Jhessye with the girl's older siblings while she ran an errand and returned to find her gone.
A search of a landfill ended in late June without finding the girl's remains.
Hunter was previously arrested in November on suspicion of child abuse but later released with the charge dropped. Prosecutors said then that they wanted to continue investigating and were worried that Hunter would not be eligible for a potential murder charge if she was convicted of abusing Shockley, a situation known as double jeopardy.
She was rearrested Sept. 6 after a grand jury returned an indictment against her.
Police records show Jhessye's siblings told investigators in the days after her disappearance that Hunter allegedly abused her and kept the girl in a closet.
In October 2005, Hunter was arrested with her then-husband on child abuse charges in California. Hunter pleaded no contest to corporal punishment and served about four years in prison before she was released on parole in May 2010.
- Report: Okla. teen vanishes while hiking in South America
- Ex-Playmate pleads guilty in immigrant smuggling case
- Report: NFL player not ruled out as suspect in murder probe
- Report: NFL player questioned in death investigation
- Atty: Martin family confident Zimmerman will be convicted
- Ariel Castro, alleged Cleveland kidnapper, appears in court
- Okla. inmate executed in the 2000 death of a couple
- 4 accused of holding mother, child captive in Ohio
- Report: College student kept girl, 13, in his room for a month
- Police: Boy, 13, killed sister, 5, with wrestling moves
- "Modern-day slavery" case "all lies," suspect's mom says
- One of US FBI's most wanted nabbed in Mexico
- Calif. widow's home broken into 14 times, says she's leaving
- Steubenville teen rapist must register as sex offender
- Ind. woman, sentenced to death at 16, to be released
- Cops: Fla. man beaten, robbed, left naked on first date