NOT GUILTY: Jurors return verdict in child abuse trialPublished 8:14pm Wednesday, January 15, 2014
A Beaufort County jury returned a not guilty verdict in the trial of Jenny Rose Jordan on Wednesday.
Rose was accused of abusing her 23-month-old son in a case dating back to March 2008, in which the child was airlifted from Beaufort County Hospital to Pitt Memorial Hospital. He spent several days in I.C.U. for injuries Jordan told authorities she believed were sustained in a fall.
“I am very happy with the verdict,” said defense attorney Don Stroud. “But that was terrible what happened to that child.”
According to the testimony of pediatrician Dr. Elaine Cabinum-Foeller, the child’s injuries were inflicted: excessive swelling around severely blackened eyes, subdural hematomas and a reaction that would prompt Jordan’s boyfriend at the time, James Dugan, to call 911 when the child became unresponsive.
Over the previous two days, the court heard testimony from a former Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office investigator, Cabinum-Foeller, who specializes in child injury, the babysitter of the child, as well as that of Dugan. Dugan, who was babysitting the child when the 911 call was made, recanted his first statement to investigators. Initially, he corroborated Jordan’s account of events, but later made another statement saying he had seen Jordan abuse her child.
Dugan’s credibility was questioned by the defense: a former drug addict with a long criminal history, Dugan only recanted his initial statement as retaliation against Jordan for breaking up with him.
Other than Dugan’s testimony, there was no evidence that the otherwise healthy 23-month-old had been abused by Jordan.
While the state had offered a plea arrangement, reducing the charge against Jordan to misdemeanor child abuse, Jordan refused the deal, demanding a trial.
After nearly three hours of deliberation, the jury returned its not guilty verdict. Discharged by Superior Court Judge Marvin K. Blount, an emotional Jordan hugged friends and family who’d come to court to support the mother of three.