A jury trial is set to begin Monday in the case against Jennifer Stephenson, who is accused of seriously injuring her 2-year-old by tightly binding his legs for a long period of time. The little boy and his younger sister are currently in foster care, according to the Children Youth and Families Department.
Stephenson and her boyfriend Anthony Apodaca were each originally charged with one count of child abuse after the January 2010 incident. Depending on the circumstances, child abuse can range from a first degree felony to a misdemeanor; Apodaca pleaded guilty to a third degree felony. He has not been sentenced yet, and must testify in the Stephenson trial under the terms of his plea agreement. Apodaca did not reside at Stephenson's home.
The basic sentence for a third degree felony is three years, but Apodaca's plea agreement entitles him to a deferred sentence, with no jail time. Under state statute, abuse resulting in great bodily harm to a child is a first-degree felony. If Stephenson is convicted under that section of the statute, she could face 18 years in prison.
As SFR previously reported, CYFD and the Santa Fe Police Department investigated Stephenson a few months before the boy's injuries came to light, when Stephenson's infant daughter nearly drowned in the bathtub.
Jury selection in the case begins in the courtroom of Judge Michael Vigil in First District Court Monday, Jan. 31, with the trial to follow. The trial is scheduled to last four days.
Stephenson has remained out of custody pending trial under "intense supervision," Vigil tells SFR.