Child abuse trial goes to Day 2

Published 8:34 pm Monday, January 13, 2014

Jenny Rose Jordan


Monday, opening statements were made in the trial of Jenny Rose Jordan in Beaufort County Superior Court. Jordan is accused of felony child abuse in a case dating back six years, to March of 2008.

During jury selection for the trial, several jurors were excused by Superior Court Judge Marvin K. Blount after the jurors made it known they would have trouble viewing evidence and testimony fairly and impartially due to the nature of the charges.

When jurors were given a break before opening remarks, defense attorney Don Stroud addressed the court, informing Blount that his client had been offered a reduced charge of misdemeanor child abuse by the state, which she refused.

“She has demanded a trial,” Stroud said. “I just wanted to put that on record.”

Stroud explained that a prior record level III, in combination with the Class E felony would mean Jordan would be sentenced to 20 to 59 months in prison, if convicted.

“She’s been, I hope, well informed,” Stroud said.

Assistant District Attorney Chad Stoop made a brief opening statement regarding the circumstances surrounding a March 2008 911 call, a statement taken at that time and a statement made months later by Jordan’s boyfriend at the time of the incident, James Dugan — which would point to Jordan as the abuser.

“Evidence will clearly show that this precious child, a 23-month old, was seriously abused,” Stroud said during opening remarks for the defense, adding that medical professionals determined the child’s swollen and blackened eyes were caused by bleeding in the brain, a result of being beaten on the back of the head. Stroud argued that besides Jordan, three other people had been alone with the child: a daycare provider, a babysitter and Dugan.

First to testify was state’s witness Dugan. On the stand, he testified that on March 12, 2008, he was babysitting two of Jordan’s children, one of which had facial injuries — swollen, black eyes — that had been there for several days. Dugan said he had been applying cold compresses to the boy’s face, but when the boy fell out of bed and appeared to be having a seizure, that’s when he called 911.

Dugan told the court he lied when, two days after the incident, he told a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office investigator the child was injured as he fell while running in the house.

When asked by Stoop why he made a statement that initially protected Jordan, but would change later, Dugan answered, “I was dating her. I didn’t want her to get in trouble.”

In November 2008, during his second statement, Dugan said he had witnessed Jordan abuse her son on several occasions.

“It was eating away at me,” he told the court.

On cross examination, Stroud questioned why, if he had seen evidence of or witnessed any abuse, Dugan never reported it before bringing investigators in with the single 911 call.

Stroud also questioned why Dugan left an unresponsive child in the house while he went outside to make a phone call before ambulance arrived.

“I was freaking out. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have kids,” Dugan said.

Stroud argued that Dugan made the second statement to investigators, accusing Jordan of punching and tripping her child, as retaliation against his former girlfriend.

“It’s true you had an ax to grind with Jenny because she broke up with you, isn’t it?” Stroud asked.

“No,” Dugan answered.

After a series of question about Dugan’s criminal history, which Dugan admitted is extensive, Stroud requested that he be able to continue his cross examination of the witness when court reconvenes today.

The trial is expected to continue throughout the day.