Jerice Hunter Attorney: Timing of Hunter's Arrest "Real Fishy;" Says Community's Heart Should Be With Hunter

Categories: Missing
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www.KPHO.com
Jerice Hunter's attorney, Scott Maasen.
As we reported yesterday, Jerice Hunter, the Glendale mom eyed in the disappearance of her missing 5-year-old daughter, Jhessye Shockley, has hired an attorney after getting thrown in jail -- and then released without charges being filed against her -- last week.

We spoke to Hunter's attorney, Scott Maasen, yesterday, and he says his client's arrest -- particularly the timing of the arrest -- is "real fishy." He also says the community's heart should be with Hunter -- after all, her daughter's missing (though, she remains the "number one focus" of the investigation into the girl's disappearance).

Maasen implies that the Glendale Police Department is attempting to try Hunter -- who spent four years in a California prison for child abuse -- in the media, with little evidence to support their apparent theory that she killed her daughter, whom police say they don't expect to find alive.

See our report on Hunter's arrest here.

"At this point, it's been kind of a one-sided story -- frankly, the facts of the case haven't [come] out," Maasen says. "The Glendale Police Department has been releasing selected bits of information. It's great sound bytes -- try her and convict her in the court of public opinion and the media. And that's wrong.

"The timing of [the arrest] certainly is unusual," he continues. "Was it coincidental that it happened right before Thanksgiving, when a lot of people have time off and are watching TV and reading the papers?"

Despite the fact that the Maricopa County Attorney's Office has recently decided to hold off on charging several people who've been arrested -- including two teachers accused of feeling up students (more on that here) -- it's bizarre for that to happen in a case like Hunter's.

"Glendale police have changed the whole record now into 'we think the mom did it.' If they have evidence, and they have all the information, I say let's release it," Maasen, who used to be a county prosecutor, says. "Show us your cards -- show us what you have. If you don't have it, and you're just smearing [Hunter's] name, that's wrong -- that's against the rules, that's not fair, and that's not how this process is played out."

The evidence against Hunter -- that we know about -- is somewhat thin, by legal standards. There's no physical evidence -- again, that we know about.

According to her arrest report, Hunter's other children -- ages 6, 9, and 13 -- told police they heard Hunter beat Shockley in early September. They say their mother kept the 5-year-old in a closet after the beating. The last time anyone saw the girl alive was September 22, weeks before Hunter called police on October 11.

Additionally, Hunter's other children say she cleaned her apartment with bleach a few days before calling police, and she instructed them to lie to police about the last time they saw the girl -- directing them to tell the cops the last time they saw Shockley was the day Hunter reported her missing. The last time the children saw the girl, they told police, she looked like a "zombie," and the closet where she was being kept by Hunter smelled like "dead people."

Maasen says that because of the lack of physical evidence against Hunter, she probably never should have been arrested in the first place.

"I haven't seen a shred of physical evidence at all," Maasen says. "[Hunter's arrest] was based upon the 6, the 9, and the 13-year-olds' statements only. There is nothing else that I've seen to corroborate those statements.

"The county attorney's gonna be real reluctant to go on kids', and fairly young kids', statements that are uncorroborated. That's not a very good case to walk into court with."

Based on the apparent lack of evidence, Maasen says the community's heart should be with Hunter and her family, who are still looking for the missing girl.

"Obviously the community's emotions are so high and it's a story that a lot of people follow because it deals with a missing child," he says. "Everybody's heart goes out to anything bad that happens to kids, or missing kids, and the community's heart really should go out for the family, the Hunter family, and finding their daughter."

The County Attorney's Office says it is working with the Glendale Police Department as it continues to build a case against Hunter. Police plan to search a city landfill for the girl's remains in coming weeks.
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10 comments
Roxane Moon Rudick
Roxane Moon Rudick

Hunter spent 4 years in prison for child abuse, was released and they returned her children to her. WHY??? She had already proved she was an unfit parent. Wake up!

Roxane Moon Rudick
Roxane Moon Rudick

Hunter spent 4 years in prison for child abuse, was released and they returned her children to her. WHY??? She had already proved she was an unfit parent. Wake up!

Lewisdeb6
Lewisdeb6

If I had known all this was possible as a mother maybe I would have let my babies sleep peacefully in their cribs while I showered with out fear of what may happen if I took a few minutes to myself. Oye, you can abandon, torture, kill, bake, boil, put them in closets and trunks, starve, dismember, and hang them as long as you dispose of them well enough there seems to be no consequences. How can this arrest smell fishy when it follows eye witness accounts, by her sister, of this poor beautiful child's torture right down to her hair falling out probably due to decomposition. Now that smells fishy. My heart hurts for this little sweetheart, it hurts from the moment she was taken from the cousins who loved her and returned to Jerice. I would say she had quite the hate on for this little girl who had actually known the love of a mother unlike Ms. hunter's other children who started the first 4 years of there life with Jerice. God, help our children.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

My heart isn't with the lying, mother who I thought was guilty from day one. She has been constantly saying the media isn't paying attention to her because she's black, and her missing kid is black. I am really tired of hearing about this case, because I knew from day one that she did it or she is covering for who did it, thus the smokescreen.. Blame the media, blame everyone but the real culprit herself.

Franco
Franco

if he is smelling fish when he is around her that possibly might be her unwashed sour pussy he is smelling.

Jason
Jason

My thoughts and prayers are with little Jhessye.

As far as the mom is concerned, I hope she rots away in an MCSO shurf jail until her trial, where she will be found guilty, and then it's off to prison in Florence, where the inmates don't take too kindly to people harming their own children.

Ros5jays
Ros5jays

I don't care what nobody says what's fishy is the last time the the little girl was in school and the last time any family have seen the little girl alive.The family and the system failed that little girl YES I do believe the mom did something she looks guilty and she keeps blaming the media that's just to keep the heat of her.

bigriggs
bigriggs

My heart is with the missing girl not the pathetic excuse of a mother.

Anjelmrrs
Anjelmrrs

So now it's okay to beat your children and keep them in a closet? And I pray the state doesn't return those babies to their mother because they will really be in for it and she'll get away with it! Why wont they listen to children? If she was a good mama..... I'm sure her kids would defend her. I know if I was falsely accused of such a crime..... My ten year old daughter would fight to the bitter end to let them know I'm a loving mother. I just don't understand why their word isn't good enough. They were there.... They lived it.... But now that they spoke up so as not to live a lie... It's just not goog enough. What is wrong with our system? I'm so disappointed.

Stephanieg426
Stephanieg426

It is a shame what hunter did to her child my heart goes to that precious child.I could care less what happens to her.(the mother.

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