The Richmond Register

October 17, 2013

Teen pleads not guilty to murder of sister

Bond stays at $100,000

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — The teen accused of smothering her infant sister to death pleaded not guilty to murder Thursday morning in Madison Circuit Court.

Jessica Marcum, 17, appeared with her attorney at the arraignment. Although she originally was charged as a juvenile, a judge earlier determined after a closed hearing that the case should be moved to circuit court and Marcum be tried as an adult.

Marcum is charged with killing her 9-month-old sister, Bella Rose Marcum. The child died June 11, according to the felony indictment.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith said earlier this month that Marcum was in a “caretaker role” at the time of the baby’s death.

Detective Jeremy Hamm of the Kentucky State Police investigated the case.

Marcum is not eligible for the death penalty if convicted, however she could face a sentence of 20 to 50 years to life in prison.

Marcum’s attorney asked Madison Circuit Court Judge Jean C. Logue to reduce Marcum’s bond, which was set at $100,000 by a district court judge.

The attorney said Marcum turns 18 next month and may be moved out of the juvenile facility in which she is being held. The high school senior might not able to complete her education if she is moved.

The attorney asked Logue to reduce Marcum’s bond to $50,000 at 10 percent, noting the woman’s family may still have trouble coming up with $5,000.

Smith opposed the bond reduction, and Logue said she needed to examine the pretrial information collected by district court when the bond was set before making any decisions.

Marcum’s next court date is a pretrial hearing at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 14.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.