The Richmond Register

October 3, 2013

Teen indicted in smothering death of infant sister

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — A Madison grand jury has indicted a 17-year-old in the death of her infant sister.

Jessica Marcum is accused of smothering 9-month-old Bella Rose Marcum to death June 7. She is charged with capital murder, which means she can be sentenced to life in prison.

Marcum originally was charged as a juvenile, and the case was closed to the public, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith. However, a juvenile court hearing was conducted, and the judge determined the case should be moved to circuit court so Marcum could be tried as an adult.

Marcum was in a “caretaker role” at the time of the baby’s death, Smith said. The teen currently is in custody, the prosecutor added.

Bella Rose was born Sept. 5, 2012, according to an obituary that was published June 14 in the Richmond Register. She was the daughter of Donnie L. “Jr.” and Kathy Roman Marcum.

The baby died June 11, according to the obituary.

“She was an inquisitive, happy and contented little girl. She loved her friends and family and appreciated life,” the obituary stated.

Bella Rose is survived by three additional sisters.

Detective Jeremy Hamm with the Kentucky State Police investigated the case, Smith said.

Jessica Marcum is not eligible for the death penalty if convicted. Under Kentucky law, certain aggravators must occur with a murder charge – such as burglary or multiple victims – for the death penalty to be considered.