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Woman who beat daughter with belt gets prison
By Tony Gordon | Daily Herald Staff

Jennifer Jordan

 

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Published: 3/25/2010 4:57 PM

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A Warren Township woman who turned a simple belt into an instrument of torture and used it on her 6-year-old daughter was sentenced to 81/2 years in prison Wednesday.

Lake County Circuit Judge John Phillips rejected Jennifer Jordan's appeal for probation and a counseling program that would help her regain custody of her children.

"Maybe it is best for your children if that does not happen," Phillips told Jordan. "Maybe they will be safer if you are not reunited and they do not have you in their lives."

Jordan, 28, and her live-in boyfriend, Lee Terry-Hemphill, 22, were arrested in March 2009 after Jordan's oldest daughter went to Woodland Elementary School and complained of pain over her entire body.

Officials discovered bruises on the girl's back, buttocks, thighs and arms and later found a belt in Jordan's apartment that had been folded in quarters and wrapped in duct tape.

"She was beaten because she missed the bus for school," Assistant State's Attorney James Newman said. "When asked how many times she was hit, this 6-year-old girl responded 'One million and one hundred times.'"

Newman also played a video taken from Terry-Hemphill's cell phone that showed Jordan and an unidentified man blowing marijuana smoke into the face of Jordan's 2-year-old daughter.

Both Jordan and Terry-Hemphill pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated battery to a child, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Newman asked for Jordan to be sentenced to 14 years, but Assistant Public Defender Arthur Kessler asked Phillips to put her on probation and require her to serve a short time in the jail work release program.

Kessler said Jordan was the victim of an abusive childhood.

"What happened to her at a young age molded her," Kessler said. "She has anger over the past that can be displaced on people in the present."

In her own statement, Jordan asked for forgiveness and said she had improved herself over the last year through counseling programs in the jail.

"I never intentionally meant to harm my children," she said. "I have learned many lessons and I am not the person I once was."

Both girls were taken into the custody of the state Department of Children and Family Services after Jordan was arrested and are now living with relatives of her ex-husband.

Terry-Hemphill is scheduled to be sentenced April 5.