Separate Abuse Trials for Parents

The couple who in July allegedly left their 9-year-old son locked inside a sweltering car in a retail store parking lot while they shoplifted will have separate trials.

Ohio County Circuit Judge James Mazzone granted motions from defense attorneys for Stephen Clemens and Jeanette Darnley, giving both defendants their own trials.

Both Clemens, 25, and Darnley, 28, each are charged with child neglect creating substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death and entering without breaking.

The judge scheduled Clemens’ trial for Oct. 23, and Darnley’s for Nov. 21.

Mazzone denied Clemens’ request to have his bond reinstated. Clemens was booked back into jail just hours after being released for contacting his stepson, the victim in the alleged abuse case.

That day, Darnley told an Ohio County sheriff’s deputy that her son was not with her and Clemens – which would be a violation of Clemens’ bond – but that the boy was with his grandparents. After meeting with the boy’s grandparents, the deputy found the juvenile with Darnley and Clemens.

The boy is now in the custody of his biological father.

That same sheriff’s deputy responded to suspected shoplifting on July 17 at The Highlands to find the 9-year-old locked inside the car in the parking lot. Court filings state the child was “covered in sweat.”

Clemens allegedly locked the boy in the car so he and Darnley could shoplift from the store.