News Flash

MCAO Latest News

Posted on: July 17, 2015

Jerice Hunter Sentenced to Natural Life for Murdering Her Daughter

PHOENIX – The mother of a five-year-old girl who disappeared in 2011 will spend the rest of her life in prison after being found guilty last April of her daughter’s murder. Jerice Hunter (D.O.B. 10/13/1973) was also sentenced to a consecutive term of 20 years for child abuse. She was convicted last April on one count of child abuse and one count of first degree murder. The body of her daughter, Jhessye Shockley, has not been found.

“This defendant through her criminal actions violated the very essence of what it means to be a parent and deserves the appropriately severe punishment allowable under Arizona law,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “While no sentence can bring back the innocent life that was taken, today’s outcome honors our commitment to secure justice for Jhessye and to hold the defendant accountable for her death.”

Jhessye Shockley was first reported missing on October 11, 2011. After an initial investigation and an extensive search for the child, police arrested Jerice Hunter on November 21 on suspicion of child abuse. No formal charges were filed and Hunter was subsequently released. Detectives and forensic investigators continued to work the case, interviewing witnesses and family members and conducting a four-month search of the Butterfield Station Landfill in Mobile.

Over the course of their investigation, Glendale Police learned that Jhessye Shockley had been absent from school for days and weeks at a time in the two months leading up to her disappearance. The defendant told the school during these periods that her daughter had ringworm and pinkeye, contagious conditions which require a doctor’s permission for her to return to school. She also told the school she had scheduled numerous medical appointments for Jhessye; however, records at the child’s doctor’s office did not support these claims.

Investigators also learned that during this period, the defendant’s 13-year-old daughter saw the defendant beat Jhessye repeatedly and confine her to a closet without food or water. The older child later told police she saw black eyes and bruises all over Jhessye’s body and described the closet as smelling like death.

A neighbor told detectives that one week before Jhessye was reported missing the defendant asked her for a ride to deliver some clothes and shoes to a woman in Tempe who had agreed to purchase them. The neighbor pulled her car up to the back patio gate of the defendant’s apartment so the defendant could load the clothing into her trunk. She saw the defendant with a wheeled rectangular suitcase and offered to help her lift it into the trunk of the car. The defendant, who was pregnant with another child at the time, declined the offer for help and lifted the heavy suitcase into the trunk by herself. The defendant also told the neighbor that if the neighbor smelled something bad it was probably from the shoes in the suitcase.

The neighbor and the defendant then drove to an apartment complex in Tempe. The defendant directed the neighbor to park the car near some dumpsters in an empty parking lot on one side of the complex. The defendant claimed that the woman who agreed to purchase the clothing items had told her to leave the items in the dumpster. The neighbor then saw the defendant put on some gloves and then struggle to put the heavy suitcase into the dumpster. When she got back into the car she was not wearing the gloves. The neighbor asked if they should wait for the woman to return and pay the defendant for the items but the defendant said that would not be necessary.

On September 6, 2012, a Maricopa County Grand Jury indicted Jerice Hunter on one count of child abuse and one count of first degree murder. Her trial began on March 2, 2015 and lasted 20 days. On April 27, after four days of deliberations, the jury unanimously found Hunter guilty on both counts and further found that aggravated factors had been proven.

Jerice Hunter has a previous conviction for child abuse in California where she served four years in prison for that offense.


Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in MCAO Latest News


Defendant Indicted for Sexual Assault

Posted on: October 30, 2023

Vehicular Heatstroke is Animal Abuse

Posted on: July 10, 2023
Photo of the logo for World Elder Abuse Day

Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Posted on: June 15, 2023
Photo of a baby tiger.

Defendant Selling Wild Tiger Cub Indicted

Posted on: February 28, 2023

Thank You for Your Service

Posted on: February 1, 2023

No Charges for Officer Conduct

Posted on: January 30, 2023
Photos of MCAO employees

A Year in Review

Posted on: December 20, 2022

MCAO Wins Big at the 2022 APAAC Awards

Posted on: August 29, 2022
Website Graphics (1)

Help Deter Catalytic Converter Thefts

Posted on: August 22, 2022
A person reaching for a pair of car keys after they've been drinking.

Celebrate Safely this Fourth of July

Posted on: June 28, 2022
Tori posing in front of a background and flags

K-9 Victim Advocate Tori is Retiring!

Posted on: April 26, 2022

MCAO’s Citizens Academy Is Back!

Posted on: March 28, 2022

Meet our New Community Affairs Coordinator

Posted on: February 21, 2022

Stay Aware of Teen Dating Violence

Posted on: February 14, 2022
New employee meeting other employees at new job

Start the Year with a New Career

Posted on: January 19, 2022

MCAO Year in Review

Posted on: December 21, 2021
An image of caution tape and police sirens

Year in Review: 2021 Crime Trends

Posted on: December 14, 2021
A family gathering around their holiday decorations

Holiday Home and Travel Safety

Posted on: December 6, 2021
Woman shopping online for holiday gifts

Get Gifts, Not Scams this Holiday Season

Posted on: November 22, 2021
Phone Scams

How to Avoid Scams Calls

Posted on: November 15, 2021
Photo of soldier holding an American flag

Honoring All Who Serve on Veterans Day

Posted on: November 10, 2021
Photo of the twin towers

20th Anniversary of September 11th

Posted on: September 10, 2021
Image of girl with the text

Talk to Teens About Substance Abuse

Posted on: August 23, 2021
A man stealing a wallet out of someone's backpack

Practice Personal Safety in Layers

Posted on: August 16, 2021
Two students reading over documents

Internship Opportunities at MCAO

Posted on: July 29, 2021
Someone looking into a parked vehicle

Keep Your Vehicle Safe this Summer

Posted on: July 5, 2021
Utility Scams

Summer Safety Series: Utility Scams

Posted on: June 21, 2021
Three Children Holding Hands

National Missing Children's Day

Posted on: May 24, 2021
Student wearing graduation cap and gown

A Career in Public Service

Posted on: May 4, 2021
Aisha Robertson, Legal Support Assistant, MCAO Victim Services Division

Employee Spotlight: Aisha Robertson

Posted on: April 26, 2021
Victim Advocates

The Importance of Victims’ Rights

Posted on: April 22, 2021
Lady Justice

Understanding Victims’ Rights

Posted on: April 19, 2021
Protect Your Vehicle From Theft

Spring Break Tips: Prevent Car Theft

Posted on: March 15, 2021
Report Graffiti

Report Graffiti in Your Community

Posted on: February 22, 2021
Protect Your Identity

Have You Checked Your Credit Report?

Posted on: March 29, 2021
Online Dating

Swipe Safe with These Online Dating Tips

Posted on: February 8, 2021
Woman Cleaning Counter

Labor Trafficking amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted on: January 25, 2021
MCAO Building

A Year in Review at MCAO

Posted on: December 23, 2020
Crime Scene Tape

2020 Snapshot: Crime Across the Valley

Posted on: December 7, 2020
Man placing Credit Card info into Laptop

Shop Safely Online this Holiday Season

Posted on: November 30, 2020
Female domestic violence victim packing suitcase with clothing

Make a Safety Plan to Get Out

Posted on: October 19, 2020
Teen Girl Texting

Remind Teens to Think Before They Send

Posted on: September 28, 2020
County Attorney Allister Adel

Body-Worn Camera Request

Posted on: September 23, 2020
Online Bully

Online Bullying During COVID

Posted on: September 21, 2020
Animal Cruelty

Report Animal Abuse to Law Enforcement

Posted on: September 14, 2020
Labor Day DUI Reminder

Celebrate Labor Day Weekend Safely

Posted on: September 3, 2020
Pills on table

International Overdose Awareness Day

Posted on: August 31, 2020

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scams

Posted on: July 23, 2020
Two Girls on Laptops

What are the risks of livestreaming?

Posted on: July 13, 2020

What is a Prosecutor?

Posted on: June 25, 2020
Man Vaping

Vaping Warning Signs for Parents

Posted on: June 18, 2020

Help Prevent Opioid Abuse at Home

Posted on: June 16, 2020
Sunset Over Canal and Homes

Keep Your Home Safe this Summer

Posted on: June 4, 2020
Looking through a car windshield at night. The lights are blurred.

Don’t Graduate into a DUI

Posted on: May 19, 2020
Happy Mothers Day

Honoring MCAO Moms

Posted on: May 8, 2020
COVID-19 Stimulus Check Scams

Stimulus Check Scams

Posted on: May 7, 2020
National Law Day 2020

It’s National Law Day

Posted on: May 1, 2020
Angela Andrews

Collaboration is Key

Posted on: April 30, 2020
Inspiration in the Face of Adversity

Inspiration in the Face of Adversity

Posted on: April 24, 2020
Heather Kirka

Charging Ahead and Working Together

Posted on: April 23, 2020
Census form on flag

We All Benefit When We Respond

Posted on: April 16, 2020
Brittany Hogard

Keeping the Wheels of Justice Rolling

Posted on: April 15, 2020
Person typing on computer keyboard

Be a Smart Online User

Posted on: April 13, 2020
Avoid Coronavirus Scams

COVID-19 Scam Awareness

Posted on: March 30, 2020

Community Outreach Highlights

Posted on: March 1, 2020
Allister with Female Staff

Celebrating Women’s History Month

Posted on: March 1, 2020
2020 Census Advertisement - Shape your Future, Start Here

YOU Count: Fill Out the Census Today

Posted on: March 1, 2020

Update On Petersen Investigation

Posted on: December 11, 2019

MCAO Honors Our Veterans

Posted on: November 8, 2019

Dion Earl Found Guilty on All Charges

Posted on: August 22, 2019

MCAO Launches Community Grants Webpage

Posted on: August 12, 2016

Update on Green Acre Dog Boarding Deaths

Posted on: September 22, 2014

National Geographic - Taboo

Posted on: August 31, 2012