OTTUMWA — Charges have been upgraded in a Wapello County murder case as prosecutors added a second charge against Kashenna Tucker.
Tucker is charged with first degree murder in the death of a three-year-old identified in court papers as W.E. In the new trial information, prosecutors allege Tucker killed the child “while committing child endangerment or assault.” An autopsy concluded W.E. died of blunt force injuries.
Tucker now faces a charge of child endangerment resulting in death in addition to the first degree murder charge previously filed. First degree murder is a Class A felony punishable by up to life in prison. The new charge is a Class B felony, less serious under Iowa law but still punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
The case file also includes two letters to the court by Tucker, in which she claims not to understand why she has been charged. The court has directed her to direct inquiries to her court-appointed attorney, rather than to the judge.
Arraignment in the case is scheduled for Feb. 15.
In other area cases:
• A bench warrant has been issued for Mitchell Chapman after the court concluded he violated his pretrial release. Chapman was charged in Davis County with sexual exploitation of a minor, lascivious acts with a child, and dissemination or exhibition of obscene materials to a minor. He had been scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 19 after reaching a plea bargain.
• A judge has ruled Jesus Barron, who is charged in connection with a series of drug raids last summer, may visit his wife and children in California. Barron is currently on pretrial release while facing charges of conspiracy to deliver more than five grams of methamphetamine, and one of the requirements of his release was that he not leave Iowa.
The court allowed a two-week furlough, provided Barron provides law enforcement with his itinerary for the trip and information on how he can be contacted. He must check back in and submit to drug testing upon his return.