Bond set at $1M for parents charged with murder of 8-year-old Navin Jones
WARNING: Readers may find the details of the Navin Jones case disturbing and distressing. Reader discretion is advised before proceeding.
The parents of Navin Jones could face life in prison if convicted in the murder of their 8-year-old son.
Bond for both Stephanie Jones, 35, and Brandon Walker, 40, is set at $1 million. Both parents are charged with one count of first-degree murder.
The child was found unresponsive in his house on North Gale Avenue on Tuesday and later pronounced dead at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.
Police reports say Navin Jones was "extremely malnourished with a skeletal appearance."
Authorities said he had numerous bruises, scrapes, abrasions, and scars spread across his body. He also had what appeared to be ligature injuries to both wrists.
Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood called it one of the worst cases of abuse he's ever seen.
During Thursday's bond hearing, prosecutor Dave Kenny said it seems the neglect had been ongoing and the last time anyone saw the boy in some semblance of health was in late October.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was involved with Navin Jones' case. DCFS hasn't yet provided a timeline of their involvement, including the last time they checked in on the child.
Walker and Jones are due back in Peoria County court for an April 28 arraignment. Both were represented by public defender Chris Frericks during Thursday's hearing, although Walker indicated he hopes to hire a defense attorney.
While sentences for a first-degree murder conviction can range from 20-60 years, Kenny said the cruel and heinous nature of the case makes Walker and Stephanie Jones eligible for life sentences.
Judge Albert Purham Jr. agreed with Kenny's $1 million bond requests. Frericks had requested $25,000 for each defendant.
Located at the corner of Gale and Douglas, the white-sided house at 1717 N. Gale is visible from the green "Center Bluff" neighborhood sign facing Sheridan Road.
Two neighbors who live in the 1700 block of Gale told WCBU on Thursday that they'd never seen a child enter or exit the white house.
Diana Brown has five children; the youngest is an 8-year-old boy.
Brown said there are three other moms on the block who also have 8-year-old boys.
“They're always outside, or in this alley right here, playing basketball or something,” she said. “All the kids be outside. … all our kids are friends with each other. But I never seen no kid at that house, though.”
Brown said her kids attend the same school as their neighbors. If Jones had been enrolled in school, he likely would have been in her son’s class, she said.
While Brown said she’s never seen a child enter or exit the house on the corner, she did occasionally see a white woman outside. Both Stephanie Jones and Walker are white, while Brown said the block is predominantly Black.
“What, they were just torturing the baby?” she said. “I'm just lost for words. I just don't know what to say. … I hope they find out who did that.”