Hearing of text messages detailing abuse, judge raises bail for Navin Jones’ parents

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Navin Jones’ favorite things were buried with him, but Laura Walker kept a few items to remember her 8-year-old grandson who died in March at his parents’ home in Peoria.

PEORIA — A Peoria County judge Thursday morning lifted bail from two parents charged with fatally neglecting their son after new abuse allegations uncovered.

Stephanie Jones and Brandon Walker discussed Navin Jones’ crush for eating the dog’s food and drinking from his bowl. A text message read “kick his (expletive), bar”.

Other text messages spoke of tying the boy down in the basement after he was found urinating in his bedroom – which had the doorknob removed and a rope securing it closed.

In response to this and other evidence, Circuit Judge John Vespa granted the state’s motion to increase bail for the two, who face first-degree murder charges in the death of their 8 year old son due to neglect and physical abuse.

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Vespa increased his bail from $1 million to $5 million, meaning Jones and Walker would have to post $500,000 to get out of county jail. Prosecutors had requested the higher bond based on new evidence as well as additional charges that could mean a stiffer sentence if convicted.

When he was found unconscious at his parents’ home in Peoria on March 29, he weighed about 30 pounds. Authorities described the boy’s treatment as “abhorrent”. The terms skeletal and emaciated have been used to describe his condition.

Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Cruz pushed for a higher bail, saying more facts have come to light since the two men were originally charged days after Navin’s death. This includes the events leading up to Jones’ 911 call on the afternoon of March 29.

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Cruz said Stephanie Jones last saw her son around 8 p.m. the day before and didn’t notice he wasn’t responding or breathing until 2 p.m. the next day. Jones told investigators she carried the boy from her bedroom and put him in a shower downstairs to revive him.

She called 911, but spent the first 30 seconds of that call complaining about her son. She was transferred to a second operator and spent about 50 more seconds, Cruz told the judge, complaining about Navin before being asked why she called 911.

Paramedics rushed him to hospital, but the boy died a short time later.

Lawyers for Walker and Jones argued that the existing bond of $1 million was sufficient, as the two could not afford to post it and nothing more was needed.

But Cruz noted that Walker and Jones face life in prison for “brutal and heinous actions indicative of wanton cruelty” — legalese that triggers a possible life sentence if convicted of Navin’s murder.

This article originally appeared on Journal Star: Navin Jones case: Bail lifted for parents accused of neglecting their son

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