Foster mom pleads not guilty to torture charges

September 26, 2008 4:01:15 PM PDT
An Antioch foster mother pleaded not guilty today to charges that she tortured and murdered her 15-year-old niece who had been placed in her care.

Shemeeka Davis, 38, has been charged with murder, two counts of torture and two counts of felony child abuse in connection with the death of Jazzmin Davis and the alleged abuse of Jazzmin's twin brother Jason, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.

She entered not guilty pleas to all the charges in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez this afternoon.

Jazzmin was found dead inside Davis' home at 3750 Killdeer Drive on Sept. 2.

Antioch police Lt. Leonard Orman said an autopsy showed that she had been burned with hot irons and whipped with belts and electrical cords over a long period of time.

A deputy coroner said today that an official cause of death has not been determined.

Jazzmin was born in San Francisco but was placed in Davis' care as an infant, Executive Director of San Francisco's Human Services Department Trent Rhorer said earlier this month. Rhorer's office oversaw Jazzmin's foster care placement.

Police said that Jason, who had also been placed in Davis' care, and Davis' 7-year-old biological daughter had also allegedly been abused, but survived.

Throughout Jazzmin's 15 years in Davis' care, neither San Francisco nor Contra Costa children's services received any reports of suspected abuse, Rhorer said.

Jazzmin's social worker, who reportedly visited her every six months, also never reported suspecting any abuse. The social worker last visited Jazzmin in March, Rhorer said.


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