By Lorie Love Hailey
A Richmond couple accused of locking their two toddlers in a feces-covered room had their bonds lowered Thursday after being arraigned on abuse charges in Madison Circuit Court.
Stewart and Jennifer Shuman, both 23, are charged with two counts of first-degree criminal abuse, a Class D felony. Both entered not guilty pleas.
The Shumans were arrested Sept. 9 when Richmond Police officers discovered their two children, ages 2 and 3, were locked in a bedroom “which was covered from floor to ceiling with feces from both children,” according to the arresting officer’s complaint.
The door to the bedroom was “tied together with a bungee cord,” the officer wrote.
Judge William G. Clouse lowered the Shumans’ bonds from $50,000 cash to $10,000 property, but prohibited them from having any contact with their children or any children under the age of 16.
As of late Thursday afternoon, both remained in the Madison County Detention Center.
At the time of the arrest, Jennifer Shuman told police the bedroom had been covered in excrement for about one week, according to the complaint. Both children allegedly were found to have numerous bruises and the 2-year-old’s arms were covered with bite marks, the officer said.
The couple allegedly told officers they had locked the toddlers in the room because they could not control them.
If convicted as charged, they each could face up to 10 years in prison.
Lorie Love Hailey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6690.