Judge questions bonds for neglect defendants

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HANCOCK COUNTY — Four defendants charged in a neglect case in which a girl had to be rushed to the hospital made their initial court appearances on Wednesday, June 23.

All four defendants showed up on their own without officials having to bring them in on warrants that were issued late last week. Following the initial hearings where bonds were set, the four were taken into custody and were walked across the street to the Hancock County Jail, where they were processed.

Jennifer L. Barnes, 49; Jacqueline Fogleman, 31; Sheldon Fogleman III, 33; and Annastasia Cole, 29, all from Greenfield, have each been charged with a Level 3 felony count of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury; six Level 6 felony count of neglect of a dependent; and a Class A misdemeanor count of cruelty to an animal. The most serious charge carries a sentence of up to 16 years in prison.

According to the probable cause affidavit, paramedics were called to the home owned by Barnes in the 7000 block of West County Road 100N on May 14 to assist a female child who had stopped breathing. The girl was on the front porch when medics arrived. She was revived and transported to Riley Hospital for Children. The child, who has severe asthma, is now staying elsewhere. Six other children and a number of pets also were removed from the home, which investigators discovered was filled with trash and filth. The odor from inside the residence was so strong and the conditions so squalid that investigators had to don hazmat suits to go inside.

During the initial hearings, Judge D.J. Davis, presiding in Hancock County Superior Court 1, addressed each defendant separately, going over the individual charges before entering not-guilty pleas, appointing defense attorneys and setting bonds. The limits on the bonds were a point of contention among the court, the prosecution and defense attorneys.

Deputy prosecutor Catherine Wilson and the defense attorneys agreed on the bond limits and asked the court to set lower bonds of $3,000 or less for all the defendants. They said lower bonds were in order despite the serious felony charges because the defendants turned themselves in, posed no flight risk and did not have criminal records.

Davis, however, was reluctant to agree due to the severity of charges.

He reminded the defendants and the attorneys that the court has a cash bond schedule for Level 3 crimes that normally falls between $10,000 and $25,000.

“This is not just about a dirty house,” Davis said. “I don’t take these actions lightly.”

In the end, Davis set bond for Jacqueline Fogleman at $3,500 after her attorney and Wilson both asked for a $2,000 cash bond. Cole and Sheldon Fogleman III also had their bonds set at $3,500 cash after Wilson and defense attorneys asked for $3,000 bonds. Barnes was given a $5,000 cash or a $40,000 surety bond. Lawyers for both sides had asked for a $3,000 cash bond.

“I’m being very generous here,” Davis said after he set the bond.

Cole and Sheldon Fogleman III were arrested May 14, at the time of the incident, but were facing only a lesser neglect charge in Superior Court 2. Those charges have since been bumped to Superior Court 1, where the additional charges have been added.

Pretrial court dates for all the defendants have been set for late August.