The State Rests Its Case in Jena Wright Trial

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NEWTON, Iowa — The state rested its case on Monday afternoon in the trial of Jena Wright.

The defense asked for an acquittal, but the judge denied the request. The defense will call its first witness to the stand Tuesday morning.

Wright is charged with child endangerment, neglect and assault on a peace officer.

Police say Wright’s American Stafforshire terrier attacked 4-year-old Jordyn Arndt back in April of 2013 while Wright was babysitting the girl. Arndt died from her injuries the next day.

The prosecution called several witnesses to speak about Wright’s dog Brutis.

One neighbor, James Billingsley, said he was fearful of Bruis and kept a ball bat in his garage specifically to use if the dog attacked.

“He was within eight to ten feet of me and I had already got my ball bat out of the garage because I thought it might not be good. He was crouched down, he was showing his teeth, he was growling and I just really thought it was going to be a bad situation,” Billingsley said.

The defense claims if Brutis was barking or growing he was defending his territory.

However, another neighbor backed up what Billingsley said.

Richard Foster said Brutis would chew through his chain link fence and get into his yard threatening him and his family. At one point he grabbed his gun to defend himself.

“I walked around the front yard went to the neighbor’s, yelled down into the basement get your dogs out of my yard before I kill them.”

The trial began last Thursday and the prosecution has called several witnesses including the former Prairie City police chief, the Animal Control officer, as well as several medical experts. The emergency room doctor that treated Arndt, Dr. Cass Franklin, gave powerful testimony about how the little girl “had no signs of life” when she arrived at the hospital.

The trial is expected to last several more days.

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