PHOENIX — The mother of Jerice Hunter, the woman convicted of murdering 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley, said the young girl is alive and the trial was racially motivated.
“They’re trying to take this baby to the grave,” Shirley Johnson said after the verdict was read Monday. “This is a lie so they can stop looking for her. They didn’t look for this baby in the first place because she was black.”
Johnson was removed from the court after Hunter was found guilty of child abuse and first-degree murder.
Family member removed from court for outburst after verdict. Screams “oh god my baby is not dead”, calls judge a racist. #KTAR
— Cooper Rummell (@CooperRummell) April 27, 2015
Johnson said police waited a week to begin their investigation and, after it was believed Hunter had killed Shockley and dumped her body in the trash, failed to look for her remains.
“I went to the dump site,” she said. “They were never out there looking for her.”
Johnson told her daughter to maintain her innocence.
“Hang in there,” she said. “Fight for what is right. You are not guilty. You need to fight so your kids can be set free by the state.”
Johnson believes Jhessye was kidnapped. She also alleged one of Hunter’s daughters, who testified against her, was taken by the state and “drugged.”