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Remembering Annie Leftwich 10 years later

May 18 2007 at 3:23 PM
From The other Board 

 
May 1997

CLINTWOOD - A mother and stepfather accused of torturing and killing their 4-year-old daughter in May were indicted on child abuse and murder charges Monday by a Dickenson County grand jury.

Kenneth Ray Jessie, 34, and Elizabeth Leftwich Jessie, 19, could be sentenced to life in prison if they are convicted at their trial, scheduled to begin Oct. 22.

Each also was indicted on a marijuana possession charge. Kenneth Jessie was indicted on a charge of driving after having been declared a habitual offender, said Melanie Blanton, assistant commonwealth's attorney.

The two had been married five months when Annie Leftwich was killed in their mountainside trailer.

According to testimony from a preliminary hearing, Annie Leftwich was smothered May 2. The autopsy showed the child died after something was placed in her mouth. There were cuts and bruises on the face of the child's corpse, bite marks on her thighs, a severe burn on her foot and puncture wounds. Wads of her hair had been ripped out.

Sheriff's investigator Danny Colley described how Annie was taped to her urine-soaked baby bed as punishment for bed wetting. Her hands were placed behind her back, through the slats in the headboard, and bound with electrical tape. Her feet were brought up over her head and were also bound to the headboard, Colley said at the preliminary hearing in August.

The Jessies blamed each other in statements they made to investigators.

Nancy Dickenson, Jessie's attorney, and Walt Rivers, Elizabeth Jessie's attorney, declined to comment about the case Monday.

The Jessies are being held in the county jail, and their attorneys have not sought their release on bond.

The death of Annie Leftwich deeply disturbed local residents, who erected a memorial outside the courthouse, held candlelight vigils and signed petitions calling for the death penalty in cases like hers.

Del. Clarence ``Bud'' Phillips, D-Castlewood, said he will ask the General Assembly in January to pass a bill that would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty when a child is killed after long-term abuse or torture.



 
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Adrianne

Re: Remembering Annie Leftwich 10 years later

May 18 2007, 4:29 PM 

This breaks my heart. It was so hard just to read this. What kind of person could do this to a child. I hope her parents get what they deserve.

 
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Anonymous

Re: Remembering Annie Leftwich 10 years later

May 18 2007, 4:31 PM 

What kind of sentence did they end up with.

 
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A. Mullins

Re: Remembering Annie Leftwich 10 years later

May 18 2007, 4:54 PM 

As I read the article tears are flowing. How could anyone do this to a child? She was just a baby. I can't imagine the fear she experienced. I'm sure I speak for most when I say if I could have done some thing I would have. I would have taken her to raise her.

What happened to the parents? Are they still in jail?


 
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Original Mother Hen

Re: Remembering Annie Leftwich 10 years later

May 18 2007, 8:24 PM 

I was just talking to someone about Annie this week and think of her very, very often. I worked at the Sheriff's Dept. and it deeply affected each and every one of us. Danny Colley was the investigator and I believe Ron Kendrick was also. They did an awesome job collecting and presenting the evidence to the Court.

I would just hope if anyone knows or even suspects that a child is being mistreated, they will make every effort to call the authorities. Poor little Annie didn't have a chance to grow up and enjoy a child's world full of love, let's make sure this NEVER happens again

 
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Original Mother Hen

Re: Remembering Annie Leftwich 10 years later

May 18 2007, 8:25 PM 

They, the mother and stepdad, were found guilty and sentenced to the Virginia State Corrections. I can't remember the length of their sentences but they are still in prison.

 
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knights_contessa

Re: Remembering Annie Leftwich 10 years later

May 18 2007, 9:11 PM 

Even if they got LIFE it's more than she got.

 
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tiger power

as I recall

May 19 2007, 7:23 AM 

I think both parents got forty or fifty years in prison. (Fifty if I remember right.)

 
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A. Mullins

Re: as I recall

May 19 2007, 7:49 AM 

They should get death. ONLY my opinion. I know some people would not agree with me. When it comes to children being kill I think the killers should be put to death.

 
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haysi81

Re: as I recall

May 19 2007, 8:35 AM 

the mother is in prison but in the looney ward well thats how i put it and she can pretty well do what she wants there.i know this its a state pen.and my sister has been there for many years.the man is on up the road toward richmand.but to me they will never pay for what they did to little annie she had a right to live her life and she was a very beautiful child,but she is an angel now.

 
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My Thoughts

my 2 cents

May 19 2007, 3:29 PM 

I was doing computer work for the DCSO at the time. I made the mistake of looking at the pictures of that poor girl. The pictures were bad.

At the time, the only way the parents could get the death penalty was is they had sexually abused her. Death of a child by neglect, at least at that time, did not qualify for the death penalty.

I don't care for the death penalty much, but if you would have seen those pictures, you would voted for it.

There was so much I wanted to say about this, but I should keep my mouth shut.

If you remember, there was neighbors that saw this poor girl wandering around (almost completely undressed), people who suspected abuse, but no one said anything.

I first and foremost blame the parents. Secondly, I blame her neighbors for not wanting to get involved.


 
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Anonymous

PAYBACK SHOULD BE!!!!!

May 20 2007, 3:07 AM 

HELL FOR THOSE @#$#$**"" SHOULD BE THE SAME WAY BUT MUCH MORE THATS LOW FOR ANYONE TO GO, IF THE S/S DEPT. LOOK FURTHER INTO THINGS LIKE THIS SHE COULD STILL BE HERE.I CAN'T PUT MY BRAIN TO THINK HOW THAT LITTLE ONE WENT THREW ITS A SHAME THAT SICK ASS PEOPLE ARE OUT DOING THINGS TO KIDS. HEY S/S, NEXT TIME SOMEONE TELLS YOU ALL THAT SOME BABY,KID GETTING ABUSE DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON THEM. IF YOUR THAT STUPID! YOUR JUST PUTTING YOUR-SELF RIGHT WITH THE ONES WHO ABUSING. REST IN GOD HANDS ANNIE.THE PEOPLE THAT HAS HEARTS MISS YOU THE MOST........

 
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Jamie H

Re: PAYBACK SHOULD BE!!!!!

May 20 2007, 10:42 AM 

There is no question they should have received the death penalty.

 
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Original Mother Hen

Totally agree

May 21 2007, 8:00 AM 

I totally agree but at that time the law did not allow the death penalty as a punishment. The law was changed following the Annie incident to allow for the death penalty thanks to some very hard and diligent work by the then Sheriff's Department, Don Askins and Bud Phillips.

 
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