Jada Justice's mom, 29-year-old Melissa Swiontek, arraigned

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Normal Jada Justice's mom, 29-year-old Melissa Swiontek, arraigned

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:04 am

By Times Staff | Posted: Thursday, August 11, 2011 11:00 am | (17) Comments

CROWN POINT | The mother of slain Portage toddler Jada Justice appeared for an initial court hearing Wednesday before Lake Criminal Court Magistrate Natalie Bokota.

Bokota entered a preliminary plea of not guilty for 29-year-old Melissa Swiontek and set an omnibus hearing for Oct. 5.

Swiontek was charged last month with two counts of neglect of a dependent. She faces a maximum sentence of 33 years in prison if convicted.

"Melissa is innocent," defense attorney John Mark Vouga said following the hearing. "I'm confident the jury is going to agree with me."

Vouga took issue with Lake County prosecutors.

"You might ask the Lake County prosecutor's office why she wasn't charged for two full years," Vouga said.

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter declined to comment except to say Vouga's concerns would be addressed in court.

Court documents state Swiontek had knowledge her cousin, Engelica Castillo, and Castillo's boyfriend, Timothy Tkachik, were drug users and dealers prior to Swiontek's leaving the child in the couple's care.

Prosecutors charged Tkachik, then 25, and the then-20-year-old Castillo, both of Hobart, with murder, neglect of a dependent, battery and false informing in June 2009 after Tkachik led police to the child's body buried in a LaPorte County swamp.

Castillo has been convicted on all counts and sentenced to life without parole. Tkachik, who has pleaded guilty to two counts of neglect, currently is set for sentencing in September.

Read more: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/hobart/article_fb6796df-6f45-5956-b51a-24b93755542f.html#ixzz1Wfqny5Ql

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Normal Re: Jada Justice's mom, 29-year-old Melissa Swiontek, arraigned

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:08 am

Mother of Jada Justice pleads not guilty to neglect
Post-Tribune Staff report August 10, 2011 5:00PM

Melissa Swiontek
Updated: August 11, 2011 2:00AM

The mother of 2-year-old Jada Justice was in court Wednesday for an initial hearing.

Melissa Marie Swiontek, 29, of Portage, appeared before Lake Superior Court Magistrate Natalie Bokota with defense attorney John Vouga.

She has pleaded not guilty to charges of neglect of a dependent in the death of her daughter and neglect involving a younger child.

Authorities allege in charges filed July 21, that Swiontek intentionally put Jada in a situation that endangered her life or health and resulted in her death by placing the child in the care of Engelica Castillo and Timothy Tkachik with the knowledge that they were drug users and dealers.

Castillo, 21, is serving life in prison without parole plus five years for Jada’s murder.

Tkachik, 26, faces a maximum 50-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to two counts of neglect of a dependent.

Tkachik, who testified against Castillo, has a Sept. 9 sentencing hearing before Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr.

http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/crime/6994609-418/mother-of-jada-justice-pleads-not-guilty-to-neglect.html

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Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation. Go find somebody’s hand and squeeze it, while there’s time.
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Thank you RAINE for all you ARE!! I will ALWAYS hold you in my Heart!!
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