Monday, April 11, 2011

Dad to go on trial for murder of 3-year-old son; boy "disappeared" in 2006 (Houston, Texas)

After five long years, dad RODERICK FOUNTAIN is to go on trial for the murder of his 3-year-old son. The boy "disappeared" in 2006, and a body has never been found. Notice that Daddy had a "lengthy criminal record."

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7512314.html

Where is Kendrick?
Boy, 3, disappeared in 2006, and now prosecutors say they have evidence - but not body - to try his father
By JESSICA FAZ
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
April 7, 2011, 11:13PM

Five years after a 3-year-old boy vanished from a southwest Houston apartment complex, triggering a massive but unsuccessful search, prosecutors are preparing to try the child's father on a felony murder charge.

In the days after Kendrick Jackson disappeared on April 7, 2006, thousands of volunteers searched the Houston area for the boy. He was never found.

"People poured in to help search for little Kendrick," said Tim Miller, founder of Texas EquuSearch. "We searched over 400 square miles with everything we had at our disposal. We just wanted to bring him home to his family."

Investigators say he was last seen with his father, Roderick Fountain.

Early on in the investigation, police said foul play was likely and classified the case as a homicide. "Red flags" in Fountain's story about the boy's disappearance led them to focus on Fountain.

While Fountain remained shrouded in suspicion, investigators initially had difficulty finding evidence to charge him in the boy's disappearance. However, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm after police found a 12-gauge shotgun in his bedroom while investigating his son's disappearance.

With evidence developed over the three-year investigation, investigators now believe they can prove Fountain killed his son. A grand jury indicted Fountain on a felony murder charge in June 2009.

"We have a fairly good idea what happened to Kendrick. We believe he's dead," said prosecutor Connie Spence. "But we do not have his body, and we do not anticipate having his body by the time this goes to trial, which will hopefully be later this year."

Man accused of beating

At the time of Fountain's indictment, Spence said Fountain had made some admissions while in prison. She said he had not talked to investigators.

Spence said she believes enough circumstantial evidence exists to convince a jury that Fountain is responsible for Kendrick's death.

"Of course, not having a body makes the case difficult, but not impossible," Spence said. "It's all about Kendrick and bringing some resolution for his mom."

Felony murder, which carries a maximum life sentence, alleges that death occurred as a result of a felony — in this case, injury to a child.

"The state believes Kendrick died from the actions of Mr. Fountain by him striking the child with his bare hands," Spence said.

His defense attorney, Charles Brown, declined to comment on the case.

Fountain has a lengthy criminal record.

He was charged with injury to a child after witnesses told investigators they saw several bruises on Kendrick's body before the boy's disappearance.

He also was charged with witness tampering after officials accused him of trying to persuade his wife and an uncle to claim they owned the gun found in his bedroom. That charge and another firearms charge were dropped in exchange for the guilty plea.

Still dealing with loss

Fountain acknowledged in his plea that he was convicted in 1992 of possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute and in 1994 on a robbery charge, both in Louisiana. He also was convicted of robbery in California in 1997.

"Kendrick's case is one of those things that has never left us," said Miller of Texas EquuSearch. "There are no words to describe the pain Kendrick's disappearance has caused. He just never had a chance at life."

Kendrick would be 8 now.

"Dealing with the loss never gets easier," said Naquea Jackson, Kendrick's aunt. "His birthday, Christmas and Easter pass each year, but still we have no Kendrick."

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