July 25, 2021

12th continuance pushes Wright trial back to March 18

The trial of a 26-year-old Prairie City woman charged with child endangerment in the 2013 dog-mauling death of 4-year-old Jordyn Arndt was rescheduled for the twelfth time since charges were filed in April of that year.

According to Jasper County Assistant Attorney Kelly Bennett, legal counsel for Jena Marie Wright filed the motion for a continuance Tuesday declaring an expert canine witness scheduled to testify on the defendant’s behalf needed more time to prepare for the trial. Judge Richard Clogg, who has been assigned to see the case, ruled in December the expert canine witness was relevant to ensure Wright has a fair trial. Kelly said Friday the state is prepared to proceed and objected to the continuance, but was overruled by the court.

According to online court records, jury selection is slated to begin March 18 at the Jasper County Courthouse. A pretrial conference is scheduled for March 9.

Wright is accused of leaving 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 the 4-year-old girl at the time of the animal attack, which caused injuries ultimately resulting in the child’s death.

The defendant could 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.

Wright 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.

Contact Mike Mendenhall at mmendenhall@newtondailynews.com