Jerice Hunter's Bond Set at $500,000 for Alleged Murder of Daughter Jhessye Shockley

See also: Jhessye Shockley's Mother Jerice Hunter Arrested for Girl's Murder

Jerice Hunter's bond was set at $500,000 for charges of child abuse and the first-degree murder of her 5-year-old daughter, Jhessye Shockley.

The Maricopa County Superior Court sent over Hunter's paperwork this morning, and since Hunter was arrested on a grand jury warrant, there's not much information contained in it, and nothing related to Hunter's alleged crimes.

Really, the only relevant information in the paperwork is that attorney Scott Maasen is still representing Hunter, as he was when Hunter was arrested in November.

Hardly any information was given up at yesterday's press conference announcing the arrest and charges against Hunter, as Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said they're saving it for trial.

A little more than two months ago, Glendale police announced the search for Jhessye's body in a landfill ended without a trace of the girl.

Rick St. John, assistant police chief, said at the time that investigators know she's still in the landfill somewhere, which has 691 acres full of garbage in total.

He said there's "irrefutable evidence" she's there somewhere, although he declined to elaborate on what that evidence was.

Shockley was reported missing in October, and her mother, Jerice Hunter, was the prime suspect in her death since police announced their belief that Jhessye was murdered.

Hunter -- who's served prison time for child abuse before for abusing her other children -- had kept Jhessye locked in a closet for quite some time before her disappearance, police said.

According to court documents previously obtained by New Times, Jhessye's 13-year-old sister told her foster parents that several weeks before the little girl was reported missing, Hunter called Jhessye a "ho" and dragged her into a bedroom, where they heard Jhessye screaming and crying.

She did this, police say, because she came home and found Jhessye watching TV with a neighborhood boy.

Jhessye's sister also told police about Hunter keeping Jhessye locked in the closet, according to the documents, as she'd give her sister water and let her out of the closet when Hunter was gone.

Jhessye's sister added that she was missing patches of hair, and the closet she was locked in smelled like "dead people."

Jhessye's sister also said that two days before Hunter reported Jhessye missing, she bought a bottle of bleach and cleaned her entire apartment, and scrubbed her shoes that she kept in the same closet Jhessye was locked in.

Since reporting her daughter missing on October 11, Hunter has proclaimed her innocence and blamed her daughter's disappearance on just about everyone, and even yelled at New Times-turned-Village Voice scribe James King for asking her whether she hurt her daughter.

How Jhessye was killed -- or why police believe Hunter killed her -- has been kept under wraps.

Still, unless Hunter can come up with half-a-million bucks, she'll be in jail for quite some time.

James King contributed to this report.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley