Motion to dismiss filed on behalf of mother in 2018 death of 1-year-old daughter

By John Underwood
Posted 9/2/21

ROBERTSDALE — A motion was filed in Baldwin County Circuit Court on Monday to dismiss charges against a Robertsdale woman indicted on capital murder charges in the 2018 death of her 1-year-old …

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Motion to dismiss filed on behalf of mother in 2018 death of 1-year-old daughter

Posted

ROBERTSDALE — A motion was filed in Baldwin County Circuit Court on Monday to dismiss charges against a Robertsdale woman indicted on capital murder charges in the 2018 death of her 1-year-old daughter.

According to reports, Jordan Nicole Rice, now 31, was indicted May 28, 2019 on capital murder charges, nearly a year after being booked on aggravated child abuse charges. She pleaded not guilty to the charges the next day saying she suffered from “mental disease and defect.”

Officers responded to a call May 24, 2018 on Patterson Road near the Styx River community of a “1-year-old child found deceased in a recreation vehicle-type trailer.”

Deputies found 13-month-old Violet Rice in a small chair on the floor of the RV. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to jail records, Rice was booked into the Baldwin County Corrections Facility on May 25, 2018, charged with aggravated child abuse.

According to the motion to dismiss, filed electronically on Monday by Fairhope attorney Michael A. Pylant, on Jan. 9, 2019, Rice was transported from the jail and admitted to USA Medical Center “due to bilateral blindness and intractable headache.”

A CT scan of her head was completed on the same day and showed a brain tumor with cerebral edema involving the frontal and temporal lobes.

On Jan. 10, 2019, a cerebral angiogram was conducted, and the meningioma was successfully embolized. Surgery was completed on Jan. 11, 2019 and she was taken back to the Baldwin County Corrections Center on Jan. 22.

According to the motion, Rice has been blind since the time of her surgery.

Four months after the surgery, Rice was indicted on capital murder charges involving a child under 14 years and remains in jail on a $75,000 bond, according to jail records.

The case is set to go to trial before Judge Scott Taylor in Baldwin County Circuit Court on Nov. 8.

While he would not officially comment on the case, Pylant pointed to information in the motion regarding multiple examinations ordered by the prosecution for mental evaluation of competency and “mental condition at the time of the offense.”

According to the motion, the first report, released in January 2020 by the Alabama Department of Mental Health, was incomplete and the second report, issued in December 2020 only included Rice’s competence to stand trial. The motion stated that neither examination was conducted by a neuroscientist.

The motion also states that they were informed by the prosecution on Aug. 26 that recorded jail calls by Rice from the jail would be used as evidence in the trial.

“It is the position of the Defendant that she has now been irreparably prejudiced in these matters,” according to the motion. “If there are recorded jail calls featuring the Defendant from the years 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 that have not been provided to the defense, the impact on the Defendant’s ability to prepare for trail in this matter is hindered beyond restoration or remedy.”

The indictment came nearly a yearlong investigation involving the Baldwin County Sheriff’s office, the U.S. Air Force and the Baldwin County District Attorney’s office, according to reports.

Teresa Heinz with the Baldwin County District Attorney’s Office said once the DA’s office has an opportunity to examine the seven-page document filed on Monday, an official response would be issued.