September 22, 2021

Trial date reset in dog mauling death case

Prairie City woman charged in death of 4 year old

NEWTON —The trial for Jena Marie Wright, a 26-year-old Prairie City woman charged with child endangerment causing death and neglect in the April 2013 dog-mauling death of a 4-year-old girl, has been moved to Dec. 8.

In a hearing held in Jasper County District Court Monday, Judge Richard Clogg gave the order to change the jury trial date. According to court documents, the trial is expected to last five days. This is the second time attorneys for the county and the defendant have agreed to reschedule Wright’s trial, which was originally slated to begin Sept. 14.

Wright is accused of leaving 4-year-old Jordyn Arndt unattended with an American Staffordshire terrier at 300 S. Marshall St. in Prairie City April 22, 2013. According to the initial police report, Wright was babysitting Arndt at the time animal attack which caused injuries ultimately resulting in the 4-year-old’s death.

Wright could potentially see up to 25 years in prison if convicted of child endangerment resulting in death, a Class B felony, and up to 10 years for a conviction of neglect or abandonment, a Class C felony.

The 26-year-old is also facing charges of assault on a peace officer causing bodily injury and interference with official acts in this case. Wright allegedly kicked the arresting officer — former Prairie City Police Chief Louis Modlin — in the chest during a struggle at 601 S. Norris St. in Prairie City.

The district court dismissed an unrelated domestic assault charge Aug. 21 for a March 15 fight with her husband. Wright pleaded guilty to charges of interference with officials acts and obstruction of emergency communications in that case. During an alleged verbal fight, Wright reportedly grabbed her husband in an attempt to keep him from leaving their Prairie City home.

Wright will not see jail time in this case, and has been ordered to pay $250 and $65 fines for the guilty plea. The new Dec. 8 trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the Jasper County Courthouse.