Bond-reduction requests in child abuse case get no traction

Becky Campbell • Nov 23, 2013 at 4:57 PM

A Jonesborough couple charged with aggravated child abuse of their newborn daughter asked a judge Friday to reduce their bonds, but those requests were delayed until later this year.

Mark Vincent Kendall and Melissa Gail Hyatt-Kendall are being held on $100,000 bond each. They were charged in May after taking their baby to the Johnson City Medical Center for a rash. But medical personnel saw bruising all over the girl’s body, including her buttocks, genitals, thigh, chest, arms and abdomen.

Melissa Kendall’s hearing for bond reduction was reset without her being taken into court. It will be heard Dec. 6.

Mark Kendall appeared with his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Bill Donaldson.

“My client would like me to make a motion for bond monitoring,” Donaldson told Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp.

“I won’t do it,” Cupp responded, noting the charge is a class A felony that carries 15 to 25 years in prison and that Kendall has a lengthy criminal history.

“His record is unbelievable,” Cupp said. “I’ll not release him on anything short of a very high bond.”

Donaldson told the judge that Kendall “wants things done.”

Cupp offered to put the case on the fast track.

“I’ll set him for trial. Do you want to do it right or do you want to put on the fast track and try this case?” Cupp asked.

Donaldson was in favor of not rushing the case to trial. He said he’ll file a formal written motion asking the judge to reduce bond for Kendall.

That hearing is set for Feb. 27.

While treating the infant, nurses also discovered a torn frenulum — the webbing under the tongue — and a small puncture wound on the palm of each hand.

Court records indicate Mark Kendall told investigators he had bathed the baby in a tub where they had been washing clothes earlier, and he believed the washing powder may have caused a rash and possibly burned the baby’s skin.

But investigators determined the child had been injured in some way that caused the numerous bruises.

The Kendalls will remain in custody until the judge rules on their bond-reduction requests.

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