Trial in missing Columbia toddler case expected to resume Tuesday
Tue, 04 Sep 2012 08:35:00 GMT —
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The trial of a Columbia mother charged in the disappearance of her young son is expected to resume Tuesday morning, after the woman gave birth to a baby girl Friday.
Zinah Jennings' trial was held up Friday after she was taken to the hospital following Thursday's court proceedings to deliver her child.
On Friday, Judge Knox McMahon said both Jennings and the baby were healthy but also pointed out he would like a doctor to medically clear Jennings before she can return to the courtroom to resume her trial on unlawful conduct toward a child charges.
Jennings' son, Amir, was 18 months old when he disappeared around Thanksgiving. He hasnt' been seen since.
Prosecutors called more than 20 witnesses to the stand during the first week of the trial, many of them family and friends who testified that the 23-year-old Jennings behavior changed in the months before her son vanished, and that she felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a parent.
Zinah Jennings' friend, Christian Dickerson, testified that the woman told her she often thought about selling or giving Amir away, or even throwing him out a window.
"She told me that she thought about throwing him out of the car and continuing on the highway," said Dickerson. "I said to her at that point, it can be overwhelming but that's not something you think about."
Last week, jurors also heard a lengthy audio recording of an interview Zinah Jennings had with police in late December. In it, Jennings said she needed a break from her son.
Authorities have said Jennings has repeatedly told them her son is in a safe place, but she has given conflicting stories about his whereabouts. Investigators have chased down leads from Atlanta to Charlotte and have come up with nothing.
Prosecutors were expected to call more witnesses before wrapping up their case when the trial was suspended on Friday.
Jennings' attorney, Hemphill Pride, indicated last week that he would move for a mistrial in the case due to the lengthy delay.
Zinah Jennings faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.