Anthony Lamar Jones, 32, pleaded not guilty to murder charges. He is also being charged with kidnapping, lewd acts with a child and rape. Jones could get the death penalty if convicted, however federal prosecutors have not said whether they will seek that punishment.
"It's a lot of sadness, but it's a homecoming; she gets to go home now," family friend Michelle Jackson said. While still coming to grips with how she died, Genelle's friends and family spent the day celebrating the way she lived. "She was a sweet young lady. You would never know that she had a sad bone in her body. When I knew her, she always smiled. She always laughed," Jackson said.
"She was full of energy. She just wanted everybody to be happy," her sister Candace Conway said. She told ABC7 News that her sister will always be with her. "She'd be like calm down with all the crying, you know. It's all good. She'd be like I'm here no matter what, I'll always be here."
In a solemn graveside service, Genelle was laid to rest in a white casket with red roses on top. The service comes exactly three weeks after the girl's body was found in a Fairfield park.
"I've never had to experience this." Green Valley Middle School principal Greg Hubbs said. "Genelle was a wonderful, honest energetic child that will be greatly, greatly missed."
Genelle was living with her younger brother in a foster home in Suisun City when she died. Her biological mother also attended the service. "She loved dance, she made everybody happy, she could sing," Crystal Conway said.
Dee Dee Dunson's daughter and niece were friends and classmates of Genelle. "It was a child, a young child and it's just another proof that these kids can't go nowhere and feel protected and do anything that we used to do back in our day without having to look over our shoulder," Dunson said.
About two dozen of Genelle's classmates from Green Valley Middle School attended Thursday's service. The principal told ABC7 News that the tragedy has hit them very hard and counselors will be available to them, as long as they need them.