Trial begins for Arundel teen charged in toddler's death

A Pasadena teenager fatally beat his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter because instead of baby-sitting her, he wanted to play video games, an Anne Arundel County prosecutor told a judge yesterday.

In her opening statement, Assistant State's Attorney Laura Kiessling said DeAndre Anthony Jones, 18, inflicted multiple wounds to the head of Jaysia Lana Larue, who lost consciousness in her mother's Glen Burnie's apartment May 13, 2003, and died three days later. Jones, 17 at the time of the child's death, was charged as an adult with child abuse death, manslaughter and second-degree murder. He is being tried without a jury by Circuit Judge Philip T. Caroom and could be sentenced to more than 30 years in prison if convicted of murder.


He has been in jail since surrendering to police two days after a grand jury indicted him in March.

The child was the daughter of Jennifer Veney, whom Jones was living with at the time of the child's death.


Photos taken of the child's injuries showed bruises to her head, neck, back and legs. A medical examiner ruled her death a homicide from "blunt force trauma."

"What happened at the hands of the defendant to Jaysia simply was not an accident," Kiessling said.

But Jones' lead attorney, Russell A. Neverdon Sr., told the judge that Jaysia suffered at least two other head injuries that month, which led to the child's death.

Veney, who could not leave work at the time, testified that Jones called for paramedics. Jaysia was flown to Johns Hopkins Hospital with hemorrhaging and swelling in her brain and eyes.

"With limited knowledge and with limited understanding, DeAndre did the best he could" to care for the child, Neverdon said.

After telling police that the child fell into the bathtub, Jones said that the child was injured when he was playing a game of lifting her up and down, Kiessling said. The prosecutor said that upon a search of Veney's apartment, police discovered three dents in a wall of the child's bedroom, one of them containing Jaysia's hair. Her blood was found on her bedding, Kiessling said. The trial is expected to continue through the middle of next week.