Man Accused by Family of Calif. Girl's Death Has Prior Convictions - NBC Southern California

Man Accused by Family of Calif. Girl's Death Has Prior Convictions

The man's father told NBC 7 that he tried to get him to straighten out his life upon his release from prison but cut ties with his son after he refused to change.

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    Man Accused by Family of Calif. Girl's Death Has Prior Convictions
    KNBC-TV
    Balloons and other items are left at a memorial for 9-year-old Trinity Love Jones, whose body was found along a trail in Hacienda Heights.

    Documents detail the malnutrition and abuse a three-year-old boy suffered at the hand of his father, who is now facing murder charges in the death of a 9-year-old girl found in a duffel bag on a Hacienda Heights hiking trail. 

    Emiel Lamar Hunt, 38, who was charged with murder Tuesday in the death of 9-year-old Trinity Love Jones, was previously convicted child abuse in 2005 after his toddler son was found unresponsive, malnourished and bruised at their San Diego home.

    Documents obtained by NBC 7 on Wednesday describe the events of March 30, 2004, when San Diego Police Department (SDPD) officers found the unresponsive three-year-old boy and rushed him to Rady Children's Hospital trauma unit.

    The child had "severe bloating and internal injuries to his chest, abdomen, back, arms and legs," the SDPD officer described in the documents. He was "intubated and had several episodes of low heart rate and required drugs to bring up the heart rate."

    The three-year-old was so underweight, he was in the third percentile for children his age and had old scars and bruises all over his body, the documents said.

    A doctor told police the child had malnutrition that could only have been caused by "prolonged neglect."

    Hunt was subsequently arrested on one count of torture and two counts of child abuse.

    Following the arrest, Hunt's partner at the time, Patecia Frazier, was interviewed about the child's care while in their custody.

    When officers asked Frazier if the couple punished the child, she admitted Hunt would "spank" the boy with a belt or cord about four times a week, according to documents.

    She also described to police how they would withhold food, from the toddler as a form of punishment, the documents said. When he did eat, the meals consisted of green beans and mixed vegetables. Meat was only given as a "reward."

    A year following his arrest, Hunt pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

    Frazier was ordered by the California Superior Court of San Diego County to attend a year-long child abuser's treatment program because of the abuses she witnessed.

    Hunt was arrested in connection with Jones' killing on Saturday, March 9, as he slept in a car at a San Diego International Airport parking lot, San Diego Harbor Police confirmed.

    He appeared in a Pomona courtroom on Tuesday to face murder charges but did not enter a plea.

    The 9-year-old girl's body was found by Los Angeles County workers clearing brush along an equestrian trail in Hacienda Heights on March 5. Her body was partially stuffed inside a duffel bag. She was publicly identified over the weekend, but officials hadn't said how she died.

    A second person of interest was also detained for questioning in connection with Jones' death but details on that person's possible involvement have not been released by authorities.

    NBC 7 spoke with Hunt's estranged father, who said his prior child abuse conviction could have played a role in Jones' death. 

    "It could have. I would say yes."