The Richmond Register

Local News

September 22, 2011

Judge: Charges too violent for lower bonds

RICHMOND — Judge Brandy Brown refused Wednesday to lower the bonds of a Richmond couple who are accused of locking their children in a room that for at least a week had been covered in their own feces.

Stewart and Jennifer Shuman of Mt. Rushmore Drive were in Madison District Court for preliminary hearings in the case, which both waived to a Madison grand jury.

“Based on the allegations, I can’t amend that bond,” Brown said, adding that the charges were violent and too serious.

Jennifer Shuman was “perhaps a danger to the community and perhaps to herself,” Brown said.

Each remain in the Madison County Detention Center in lieu of a $50,000 bond.

The Shumans were arrested Sept. 8 when police discovered the couple’s 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 post-arrest complaint.

“The bedroom door was also tied together with a bungee cord, which prevented both children from getting out of the room,” the complaint reads.

Jennifer Shuman told the officer the bedroom had been covered in excrement for about one week, according to the complaint.

The parents, both 23, were charged with first-degree criminal abuse, endangering the welfare of a minor, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and first-degree wanton endangerment.

At the time of the arrest, the children had “numerous bruises, with the 2-year-old having bite marks up and down both arms,” the officer wrote.

The couple allegedly told police the bruises were caused by the children fighting each other, and that the reason they had restrained the toddlers in the room was because they could not control them, according to the complaint.

Both sons were removed from the home by social services, the officer said.

A grand jury will review the case, hear testimony and determine if there is enough evidence to issue an indictment against the parents. If an indictment is issued, the case will proceed through circuit court.

Lorie Love Hailey can be reached at editor@ or 624-6690.

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