Guilty plea in Carl Junction child death case
JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — Jalen Vaden pleads guilty to one count of child abuse resulting in death. Vaden was charged in the death of 3-year-old Jayda Kyle of Carl Junction, Missouri in December of 2017. Click here to read a statement from Vaden’s attorney.
The case was assigned a special judge after several others recused themselves.
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, 2017.
A trial for Vaden was scheduled for April of 2019.
Today, January 3rd, 2019, Vaden changed his not guilty plea to guilty. As part of the plea bargain, a second degree murder charge was dropped. The courts found him guilty of child abuse resulting in death. A judge sentenced Vaden to 22 years in prison. He must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence. Probation was denied.
Vaden’s attorney, Tracy Martin, released the following statement following the plea deal:
“Jalen has authorized me to make a statement on his behalf following his guilty plea.
Jalen continues to assert that his “confession” was not accurate or truthful. However, he does take responsibility for a reckless tragic accident that resulted in the death of a beautiful child. He feels extreme guilt and remorse for all of the families and individuals that continue to grieve for that precious little girl. It has taken a lot of time to look at every piece of evidence and follow every lead. After a thorough review of the evidence, and the additional medical evidence only released last month, it became clear that Jayda’s death was the result of reckless action.. Jalen had no intent to hurt or injure Jayda, and unfortunately that does not change the outcome. He wants to personally apologize to both the Kyle and McPherson families for their loss. He also is disgusted by how the families have been treated on social media, and asks that people allow the families to process their loss without any further bullying or mistreatment on social media or otherwise. While this is certainly not the outcome many hoped for we promised to thoroughly review every aspect of this case to confirm that we found the truth. While there may be unanswered questions, we have done all we can do to find and stand on the truth. Jalen hopes that taking responsibility will allow the families and the community to move toward healing.”
A written portion of the statement reads, “Unfortunately this case resulted in a number of hurtful, inaccurate facts being shared. We hope this resolution will end the speculation and gossip that has hurt so many. Jalen hopes the three families can heal and work together in spite of him, so that the two young boys can be reunited as brothers. They lost their sister and extended family members. There has been enough heartbreak. Jalen believes it is time to allow these families to heal, hopefully together for the boys.”
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