The baby is recovering at VCU Medical Center, and the legal process has begun for her dad, 24-year-old Jonathan Jenkins.
Jenkins was given a court appointed attorney in Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court to assist with the very serious charges he faces.
Jenkins was arrested Sunday and charged with malicious wounding, felony child neglect, domestic assault and preventing someone from calling 911.
“The child’s mother returned home, discovered the girl’s injuries, and attempted to call for help. Jonathan Jenkins tried to prevent the child’s mother from calling 911, striking her in the process. The mother escaped with the child to a neighbor’s residence, where she was able to call police,” Chesterfield Police spokeswoman Liz Caroon wrote in an email. ”The child was ultimately taken to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries; she remains in the hospital.”
“There was obvious trauma to the face and head area,” said Chesterfield Police Lt. Patrick McCann.
The child’s mother was attacked also, as he prevented her from calling 911, the prosecutor said.
As the court process unfolds, CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone says that mother’s testimony will be key.
“She is going to be a very important witness. If she came home and observed injuries and he presumably kept her from dialing 911. Those are the things that really establish the case,” Stone said.
Jenkins has a violent rap sheet, and sources confirm charges he’s faced before in Henrico include conspiracy to commit murder which was “nolle-prossed” in 2012.
Jenkins’ background shows that in 2012 he also struck a plea deal in Henrico County on a conspiracy to commit burglary charge.
Stone acknowledges that means if Jenkins had served those five years he wouldn’t have been on the streets.
“It is easy to look and say why wasn’t he in jail when he had something so recent and so serious, but prosecutors don’t give away charges like that,” Stone said. “There must have been some evidentiary reason for that sort of plea agreement.”
“A malicious wounding charge is very serious charge that people go to prison for,” Stone continued. “Many times a judge will look at the victim and the fact that this victim is so young, defenseless, if the evidence is proven I think it’s one that would be punished pretty severely.”
As for how often a Chesterfield child might suffer through such acts as Jenkins is alleged to have committed, the most recent child abuse data is from 2006.
The numbers are staggering: 152 children placed into Department of Social Services foster care that year. Most of those were as a result of child abuse or neglect.
Ian Danielsen, who works with SCAN, or Stop Child Abuse Now, says there’s a complex series of risk factors.
“Parents’ coping skills failing, parents’ own poor modeling in the past,” said Danielsen. “Parents who were once a victim, too, a lack of education. It can all play into it.”
Jenkins is being held without bond. He is due back in court March 25th.