Woman charged with capital murder

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 3, 2004

A Crenshaw County woman has been arrested and charged with capital murder in connection with the death of her two year old daughter.

John Andrews, district attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit, issued a statement during a press conference held on Friday afternoon in the courtroom of the Butler County Courthouse.

"On Monday, May 17, 2004, at approximately 4:28 p.m., a two-year-old female arrived at the Crenshaw Community Hospital in Luverne," Andrews said. "The child, identified as Kenithtsha Brown, born Apr. 21, 2002, was pronounced dead at the time of her arrival at the hospital."

Andrews said the hospital notified the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR), the Crenshaw County Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney's Office after the baby was brought into the emergency department.

"As a result of an investigation conducted by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI), the Crenshaw County Sheriff's Department (CCSO), the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS), Crenshaw County DHR and the District Attorney's Office, it was determined that the child died from injuries that resulted from blunt force trauma to the head," Andrews said. "The investigation also determined that the child's mother, LaQunda Shanta Julian, age 22, of 1301 McGough Road, Luverne, was the individual responsible for causing the injury to the child that resulted in the child's death."

Andrews said Julian was arrested Thursday.

"On Thursday, June 24, an arrest warrant was signed by ABI Investigator John Wall, charging Julian with capital murder," he said. "The Crenshaw County Sheriff's Department arrested her at approximately 11:30 p.m. last night. She was taken to the Crenshaw County Detention Facility, where she is being held without bond."

Andrews said the charge of capital murder is applicable in this case because the victim was less than 14-years-old, and he would be seeking the maximum sentence. He also said that "no bond" was applicable for the same reason.

"The maximum sentence is what I will be seeking - either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole," he said.

Andrews said the child had been brought to the hospital by her mother, and that an autopsy was performed by DFS to determine the cause of death.

"The child died as a result of a blow to the head," he said. Andrews would not say if there were any older injuries or signs of abuse found on the child's body.

The woman also has three other children, and according to Andrews they are all in protective custody.

"Crenshaw County DHR has placed the other three children in protective custody," Andrews said. "The father of the deceased child lived at home with the mother and children."

The District Attorney explained the process of the case now that Julian has been arrested.

"She (Julian) appeared in Crenshaw County District Court this morning for her initial appearance," Andrews said. "She was advised of her rights, told what she was charged with, and told that she could have an attorney appointed for her by the court if she could not afford one, or if she could afford it, she could hire an attorney herself."

Andrews said the case would be presented to a Crenshaw County Grand Jury, and if a "true bill" were delivered, Julian would be bound by the Grand Jury for trial in the case.

"Our next Grand Jury in Crenshaw County is in August," Andrews said, "although I am not sure at this time whether we will be ready to present this case when it convenes."