LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A 30-year-old Lufkin woman pleaded guilty to two felony charges of injury to a child Tuesday for tying her teenage daughter's hands and beating her with a computer cord hard enough to leave welts and cuts on her face, legs, and arm on Aug. 20, 2013.
Further investigation revealed that the girl's the-8-year-old brother had been beaten in the same manner two weeks earlier.
Shodondra Jenkins appeared in Judge Paul White's 159th Judicial District Court for a plea hearing Tuesday morning. White will sentence Jenkins at a future date following a pre-sentencing investigation.
Jerry Whiteker, Jenkins' lawyer, said everyone makes mistakes.
"Well she is very remorseful over this, and she is a hard worker, and I think she had some good raising," Whiteker said. "Amd she is concerned about these kids and her future."
However, despite Jenkins' remorse, she is facing anywhere from 2 to10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Whiteker is hoping that Jenkins gets probation because she has no criminal history.
When Jenkins was arrested, she was originally charged with on a first degree felony charge of injury to a child with serious bodily injury, a third-degree felony charge of injury to a child, and a laundry list of misdemeanor charges including operating an unregistered motor vehicle, no valid inspection sticker, theft of property between $20 and $500, expired license plates, no insurance on a commercial vehicle, and an expired driver's license.
According to the Angelina County Jail Website, Jenkins was released on Nov. 25, 2013 after she posted a bail amount of $72,014.
On Oct. 11, 2013, Jenkins showed up for "rocket docket" hoping that she could reach a plea agreement with the state that would allow her to get a probation sentence. She was seen crying in the courtroom after she found out the state wasn't willing to do that.
In a previous East Texas News story, District Attorney Art Bauereiss said she was looking at least 20 years in prison for the crime.
"This is a child abuse case," Bauereiss said.
The arrest came after the LPD officers and Pct. 1 Constable Tom Selman responded to a disturbance call at a residence in the 300 block of Whippoorwill at approximately 5:40 p.m. Tuesday that started because the then-13-year-old's father got angry when he dropped off some items for his daughter and learned that she had been whipped with a computer cord.
Once the LPD officers arrived on the scene, the children's father requested that they look at his daughter. The law enforcement officers noticed welts on the girl's face and left arm. When they asked the girl how she had gotten the marks, she responded that her mother (Jenkins) had "whipped her with a computer cord after tying her hands together with a belt," the on-view arrest affidavit stated.
Later, the officer on the scene asked the girl if her mother had hit her anywhere else, and she responded that Jenkins had whipped her legs as well, according to the affidavit. The girl's father then had her put on a pair of shorts, so that her injuries would be visible, and she had welts, cuts, and blood on her legs.
The girl took the officers into the house and showed them the back bedroom where her mother allegedly whipped her. She also showed them the belt that was used to tie her hands, along with the computer cord.
In a written statement that described what happened, the girl said she had gone into the kitchen to add some water to the food she had been cooking. At that point, Jenkins came up behind her and hit her in the back of the head because she had accidentally burnt the food, the affidavit stated.
The girl said her mother told her to go to the back bedroom, pull her pants down and keep her hands on the dresser. Jenkins allegedly then started whipping the girl with the computer cord. When the 13-year-old began putting her hands behind her back to protect herself, Jenkins retrieved the belt from her bedroom and used it to tie the girl's hands.
After Jenkins allegedly started whipping the teen again, she grabbed the girl by the hair and threw her on the bed. The affidavit stated Jenkins then began hitting her daughter with her fist, saying, "I'm the momma. You do what I say do. When I ask you to take care of your sister every day, you do it!"
Not long after that, the girl's father arrived at the residence. The disturbance allegedly started after he realized what Jenkins had allegedly done to his daughter.
One of the LPD officers asked the girl if that sort of thing had happened before, and she said that it had been happening since she moved in with her mother when the teen was 11, the affidavit stated. Before that, the teen and her little brother had been staying with their grandmother.
While at the scene, the LPD officers also learned that Jenkins had also used a computer cord to whip the girl's little brother two weeks earlier. After the little boy confirmed what his sister said, the officers observed severe lash marks on his back, arms, legs, and buttocks.
"The marks were linear in shape and looped on the end, indicating that some kind of cord was used to strike him," the affidavit stated. "The marks on [the son] were similar to those on [the daughter.]"
As a result of what the officers learned, they sought and obtained a second injury to a child warrant for the son's injuries.
But despite Jenkins' remorse, she is facing anywhere from 2 to10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Whiteker is hoping that Jenkins gets probation because she has no criminal history.
Jenkins admitted to White that she was sane and not under the influence at the time of the beatings. At her upcoming sentencing hearing, Jenkins will have the opportunity to explain her side of the story.
Sherry Pulliam, a spokeswoman for the Child Protective Services office in Beaumont, said that the girl has been placed with a family member and is safe. Pulliam declined to comment any further on Jenkins, other than to say that CPS is working closely with law enforcement on this case.