Third Judge Recuses Self in Carl Junction Child Murder Case - KOAM TV 7

Third Judge Recuses Self in Carl Junction Child Murder Case

Jalen Vaden in Court on August 20th, 2018 Jalen Vaden in Court on August 20th, 2018
Jayda Kyle Jayda Kyle

There have now been five judges in a 2017 child murder case in southwest Missouri. Jalen Vaden is accused of killing 3-year-old Jayda Kyle at the Carl Junction home he shared with the child's mother. Vaden is charged with second degree murder and abuse or neglect resulting in death.

Jasper County Associate Court Judge Joseph Hensley presided over the first court arraignment in December of 2017. Once the case was bound over for trial, Judge Dean Dankelson became the presiding judge.

In January 2018, Defense Attorney Tracey Martin filed a motion for a new judge, claiming there's a conflict of interest. That motion was denied. However, as part of the process in Missouri, a defendant gets one judge change request. That motion was sustained and Judge David Mouton became the presiding judge.

On October 2nd, 2018, Jasper County Circuit Court Judge David Mouton recused himself from the case. Court Administrator Erik Theis told KOAM/FOX14 that Judge Mouton had nothing further to say other than what was stated in the court docket entry. That entry states "Division 3 judge recuses. Pursuant to local court rule, case is transferred to Division 1. So ordered. David B. Mouton, Circuit Judge".

The case was handed to Judge Gayle Crane, who then recused herself from the case on October 9th, 2018.

Moving up in court divisions, the case was then handed to Judge John Nicholas, who recused himself on October 11th, 2018.

No reasons have been given for the recusals. The next judge has yet to be assigned.

If all available judges in a county recuse themselves or have been disqualified, Court Administrator Erik T. Theis says the presiding judge would ask the Missouri Supreme Court to assign a special judge

Police say the crime happened on November 27th, 2017, during an argument over pajamas. According to investigators, Vaden was upset that Jayda hadn't put on her pajamas, as he told her to do. Investigators say Vaden threw her to the floor, causing her to hit her head on the floor. Investigators say "a short time later," Jayda left her bedroom without her pajamas. Investigators say "short time later," Vaden threw her on her bed. Investigators say "a short time later," Vaden still saw the girl wasn't wearing her pajamas as instructed, so he again threw Jayda to her bed. According to Investigators, "Vaden then grabbed (Jayda's) leg, 'tossing' her 'face first' onto the floor." Investigators say Vaden then left her bedroom, returning a short time later to find Jayda bleeding and unresponsive.

Jayda was airlifted to Kansas City where she passed away due to her injuries on December 1st.

A trial is scheduled for April 15th, 2019.

Previous Stories

Child Death Case Latest: Motion for Discovery (includes court documents)

Murder/Abuse Suspect Arraigned: Protestors Urge More Arrests & Justice for Jayda

Jayda Kyle Press Conference

NAACP, Black Lives Matter Gather in Joplin to Protest Murder Arrest

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