Father of Amir Jennings testifies against missing toddler's mother
Wed, 29 Aug 2012 14:08:52 GMT —
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH / AP) -- Prosecutors are continuing to make their case against the mother of a missing South Carolina boy.
Authorities have charged the young mother with neglect for giving them conflicting and false information about the whereabouts of her son. Amir Jennings was 18 months old when he was last seen around Thanksgiving.
The father of a missing South Carolina toddler says he wanted to play more of a role in his son's life but the boy's mother wouldn't let him.
Roderick Mitchell testified Wednesday that Zinah Jennings moved out of their apartment after the boy was born in June 2010 and wouldn't let him spent much time with Amir.
Mitchell said he was surprised when Zinah Jennings let him spend a day with their son last November.
The last days Mitchell says he spent with Amir were Nov. 22 and Nov. 29.
Mitchell says he loves Amir and he does love Zinah because she is the mother of his child. He said she was a good mother, but she could be possessive of Amir.
Mitchell gave Zinah $150 each time he got paid even though they were no longer dating or living together.
A long-time friend of Zinah's took the stand and said Zinah said she thought about throwing Amir out of a car window while driving down the highway when they were hanging out one day. The friend said Zinah told her it was too much taking care of a kid.
After Amir was born, she separated herself from the friend, whom she had known since middle school.
Tellers from the bank where Zinah took Amir in late November 2011 also testified in the case.
They said when Zinah came to the bank with her son, she was letting him run around the lobby without paying much attention to the toddler until bank employees brought it to her attention. They said Amir even opened doors and went outside.
The next time she went to the bank on December 4 she did not have Amir with her. The witnesses said she looked confused at why the exact amount of money she thought was in the account wasn't there. She withdrew all of the money from her account except for the $5 required by bank policy to keep the account open.
A man from Augusta, Ga. was also questioned on Wednesday.
The man said he met Zinah at a gas station around Dec. 6, 2011. They exchanged phone numbers, but she never mentioned having a child and Amir was not with her at the time. A few days after their initial meeting Zinah met the man at his apartment. They had drinks and engaged in sexual activity.
Jennings' attorney requested that his testimony not be used in the case because it did not reference Amir. The judge ruled that it could be used because the man's story goes along with the tracking of Zinah during that time.
The boy's mother is pregnant again and is due to give birth to a second child in several weeks.
Authorities say the man she has sex with in Augusta, Ga. is not likely to be the father of Zinah's second child because the timing does not match up.
On Tuesday, prosecutors played a two-hour interview in which Jennings cried and told officers she needed a break from parenting. But Jennings wouldn't say where she'd left her son.
Zinah Jennings faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
(The Associated Press Contributed to this report.)