Six people face child neglect charges after police say a toddler was beaten and bitten in a Charleston apartment littered with hypodermic needles in April.
Tiffany Nicole “Nikki” Taylor, 26, the mother of the 17-month-old child, Karibeth Nicole Drennen, 28, Alex Thaxton, 23, who lived with Taylor, Dustin Lee Halstead, 25, who also lived with Taylor, and Arron “Pokey” Hudgins, 33, of Montgomery, and Jonathan D. Pennington, 29, are charged with neglect and related possession charges.
The child suffered blunt force trauma to its head and face, according to a criminal complaint filed with Kanawha Magistrate Court.
Jonathan D. Pennington, last of the six arrested for the assault that left the toddler with “human bite marks throughout the body” was apprehended Wednesday night.
Hudgins was the most recently arraigned of the suspects.
Magistrate Ward Harshbarger led him through the motions of describing his personal assets to determine his bonds. Hudgins told Harshbarger he receives around $357 in food stamps per month, doesn’t have a car, only works odd jobs and his only bill is the $67 he pays every month for his cellphone.
The prosecution requested his bail be set at $75,000, due to a prior conviction of first-degree sexual abuse, an outstanding possession with intent charge and a malicious wounding charge that was dropped because the witness never showed. Hudgins, his wrists cuffed in front of him, hung his head in his hands at the back of the courtroom as he awaited the completion of his paperwork.
Hudgins was also charged with possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine after the Metro Drug Unit made a controlled purchase of methamphetamine from him April 27, according to a separate criminal complaint.
Police say Hudgins was one of the six people doing methamphetamine in Taylor’s home at 6555 Roosevelt Avenue Apt. 5 on April 5, the complaint read. Investigation into the matter led police to believe the child was asleep on a futon before being assaulted.
The adults were present and getting high on methamphetamine at the time of the attack, according to the complaint; the users were likely injecting drugs in the presence of the child.
Members of the Charleston Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division followed up at the residence the following day, the complaint read. They found hypodermic needles littering the residence alongside assorted drug paraphernalia.
Detectives seized 2.5 grams of methamphetamine from the residence during the search, the complaint read.
All six are held at South Central Regional Jail, Hudgins on $75,000 bail and Taylor, Thaxton, Drennen, Halstead and Pennington on $25,000 bail each.