Judge sets Jan. 12 trial date for Jerice Hunter - WNEM TV 5

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Judge sets Jan. 12 trial date for Jerice Hunter

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Jerice Hunter during a pre-trial conference on Sept. 12, 2014. Hunter will go to trial Jan. 12 on murder and child abuse charges in the disappearance of her 5-year-old daughter. (Source: CBS 5 News) Jerice Hunter during a pre-trial conference on Sept. 12, 2014. Hunter will go to trial Jan. 12 on murder and child abuse charges in the disappearance of her 5-year-old daughter. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Jhessye Shockley, 5, was reported missing by her mother Oct. 11, 2011. Her body has never been found. (Source: CBS 5 News) Jhessye Shockley, 5, was reported missing by her mother Oct. 11, 2011. Her body has never been found. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

More than three years after her daughter disappeared, Jerice Hunter will finally go to trial.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Rosa Mroz set a Jan. 12 trial date for Hunter, who's charged with first-degree murder and child abuse in the disappearance of 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley in October 2011.

Hunter appeared before Mros on Friday, Sept. 12, for a case management conference, at which time Mroz scheduled status conference hearing for Oct. 31.

Hunter has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Investigators said they believe Hunter killed Jhessye and dumped her body in a trash bin in Tempe days before reporting her daughter missing Oct. 11, 2011. The girl's body has never been found.

Hunter was arrested nearly a year later and has been jailed since.

Searchers combed the Butterfield Landfill in the south Valley for more than three months in 2012, but never found Jhessye's body.

Glendale police detectives said they believe the girl's body rests in the landfill.

Hunter maintains she left her daughter with her older sibling's at their Glendale apartment to run an errand when she disappeared.

A search warrant was served on their home six weeks after Jhessye was reported missing and Hunter was arrested for child abuse the day the warrant was served. But no charges were filed and she was released.

Hunter was also arrested on child-abuse charges in 2005 in California and served nearly four years in prison after pleading no contest to corporal punishment.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • UPDATEJudge sets Jan. 12 trial date for Jerice HunterMore>>

  • Sidebar: Jhessye Shockley

    CBS 5 Exclusive Coverage

    Thursday, April 2 2015 5:48 PM EDT2015-04-02 21:48:00 GMT
    SPECIAL SECTION: Missing Jhessye Shockley SLIDESHOWS: Search for Jhessye INTERVIEW: CBS News' Donna Rossi's exclusive interview with Jhessye's mother Jerice Hunter FLIER: Jhessye was reported missingMore >
    SPECIAL SECTION: Missing Jhessye Shockley SLIDESHOWS: Search for Jhessye INTERVIEW: CBS News' Donna Rossi's exclusive interview with Jhessye's mother Jerice Hunter FLIER: Jhessye was reported missingMore >
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