ST. GEORGE – Despite the defense’s objections, a judge ruled in favor of the prosecution Tuesday, allowing additional charges to be officially filed against child abuse suspect Brandy Jaynes.
Jaynes, 36, appeared in 5th District Court with her lawyer, Edward Flint, before Judge Eric Ludlow Tuesday morning. Flint had filed a motion objecting to new charges the state issued against his client in March, which added two additional charges of second-degree felonies for child abuse.
The original charge stemmed from accusations of Jaynes starving her 12-year-old and keeping him locked in a dirty, feces-covered bathroom in their Toquerville home for an extended period of time – alleged to be a year or more. Jaynes was arrested in January, with police comparing the conditions her son had been living in to something out of a horror movie.
The boy weighed just 30 pounds when his father took him out of the house and ultimately to Dixie Regional Medical Center, according to court records. He was was said to be one of the worst cases of child malnourishment some of the doctors had ever seen.
The original felony charge addressed the accusation of starvation, Washington County Attorney Angie Reddish-Day said. However, as additional injuries to the child came to light through medical examination and investigation, the prosecution chose to pursue to new charges.
The two additional charges specifically relate to the boy having lost the use of his limbs – namely his legs – for an extended period time, as well as experiencing developmental, emotional and intellectual delays caused by the alleged captivity in the bathroom.
“The defendant will be held to answer all three of the charges in the amended information,” Reddish-Day said. “So essentially three counts of second-degree child abuse.”
While Flint objected to the new changes being filed, Ludlow ruled in favor of the prosecution. Ludlow said the defense could challenge the additional charges in a preliminary hearing tentatively set for July 11.
Flint has also asked for more information from the prosecution regarding specifics of the each charge so he could review it and build a more adequate defense. Reddish-Day said the state has provided the evidence and medical records supporting the charges and “could not be more specific.”
“The state in this case has provided more than ample specificity in regards to this particular case,” Reddish-Day said.
Under Utah law, the state is typically able to pile multiple criminal counts on an individual for certain incidents that occur during a singular criminal episode. This can come into play when a gun is used in a crime, for example, Flint said.
In this example, each discharge of the gun can be separately charged as a felony for aggravated assault, Flint said. In the case of Jaynes, however, he said the state was “wading into uncharted waters” by pinning a charge on each major injury the child experienced.
“This would be like saying some guy who fires one bullet from his gun is guilty of four counts of aggravated assault for the hole shot through the stomach, the spleen, the intestines and the skin,” he said. “That’s just not the case. It’s one count even though there’s (sic) multiple injuries.”
The original incident that has led to this point started the night of Jan. 9 and resulted in Jaynes’ arrest Jan. 10.
The 12-year-old boy’s father, Russell Jaynes, took the boy from the home and ultimately to the hospital. Police were alerted to the situation by medical staff and investigated the home. They found the bathroom where the boy was said to be kept for a year or more, locked away from the rest of the family.
The bathroom was reportedly covered in filth and feces and locked from the outside. Light switches inside the bathroom were also reported by police to be taped over so they couldn’t be used.
Hundreds of photos documenting the progression of the boy’s alleged “torture” were left on a laptop and on a phone investigators reviewed, Reddish-Day said previously. Jaynes is said to have watched her son lying on the bathroom floor through a baby monitor and camera set up in the locked bathroom.
The boy has been placed with a foster family since leaving the hospital, Reddish-day said in a previous interview. The boy’s twin sister and a younger sibling, both of whom were treated in a relatively normal fashion according to investigators, were also also placed in foster case, she said.
Russell Jaynes, who has been cooperating with authorities during the case, has nonetheless been charged with a third-degree felony child abuse through negligence.
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