Durham County

Motion for pretrial leniency for woman charged in beating death of daughter, 4, is denied

Jessica Warren is pictured at during a hearing on her pretrial house arrest motion Tuesday. The motion was denied.
Jessica Warren is pictured at during a hearing on her pretrial house arrest motion Tuesday. The motion was denied. The Herald Sun

Superior Court Judge Orlando F. Hudson Jr. clarified that under the terms of her pretrial release house arrest, Jessica Warren, who confessed to 7 beating her four-year-old daughter Armani Hodges to death with a leather belt “and possibly fists” in 2014, was not to place phone calls to her son’s school as she did on March 23.

A bond hearing for Warren was held in Durham Superior Court Tuesday afternoon in which Warren’s defense attorney Daniel Meier asked the court to revise the conditions of Warren’s house arrest to electronic monitoring with a curfew so Warren could hold a job during daytime hours working for a cousin who had agreed to employ Warren.

Warren’s daughter was pronounced dead around 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2014 when first responders arrived at Warren’s apartment. Warren said she had not intended to kill her child.

The state medical examiner reported that Armani died of severe trauma to the abdominal area which led to a lacerated liver and other injuries. Warren was arrested the following day and charged with first-degree murder.

In court Tuesday, Meier said Warren was jailed for approximately 18 months before being released on house arrest.

Assistant District Attorney Cindy Kenney argued before the court that Warren’s bond should be revoked altogether, citing images that Warren posted on her Snapchat account showing her “doing the hair” of female minors “late at night.”

The terms of Warren’s pretrial release state that she is not to be left alone, unsupervised, with minors. The photos and videos posted on Facebook did not depict any adult other than Warren.

Meier said, that there is no stipulation mandating “supervised” to mean “eyes on.” Meier argued that as long as adults were present in the same house with Warren and within earshot of Warren’s interacting with minors, then Warren should be considered “supervised.”

Kenney also pointed to Facebook posts in which Warren wrote comments such as “Y’all need to get here, Macy’s close out sale.”

The terms of Kenny’s pretrial release state that she is not to leave her dwelling other than for medical and court-related reasons.

Judge Hudson neither revoked Warren’s bond nor did he allow her to leave house arrest to work.

The judge allowed Kenney to speak with Durham Social Services outside court to ask about setting up a system to carrying out unannounced checks on Warren to ensure that she is not being left in the presence of minor unsupervised.

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636, @CWarrenHicks