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Jerice Hunter sentenced to life in prison for killing Jhessye Shockley
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Jerice Hunter sentenced to life in prison for killing Jhessye Shockley

PHOENIX — A jury sentenced Jerice Hunter to an Arizona prison for the rest of her life without the possibility of parole Friday for killing her young daughter, Jhessye Shockley.

The sentence was handed down in front of an emotional courtroom.

One person was asked to leave for continual disruptions.

Hunter addressed the court prior to her sentencing, saying she is “most definitely not a baby killer” and worries about her daughter’s whereabouts.

Friday’s sentencing came four months after Hunter, of Glendale, was found guilty of first-degree murder and child abuse of her 5-year-old Shockley.

A jury found Hunter guilty on all aggravating factors. An original sentencing date of June 5 had been set but was postponed until July.

Hunter has been in jail since 2012. She had been arrested on suspicion of child abuse Nov. 21, 2011, a month after her daughter went missing.

Hunter has always proclaimed her innocence and she continued to do so through her sentencing.

The child’s body has never been found, despite a monthslong search by authorities that took them to a landfill.

Prosecutors convincingly argued that Shockley has been beaten and neglected by her mother, and that Hunter had dumped the body in trash.