Trial begins in Bluffs for man charged with murder in death of 16-month-old girl

Trial begins in Bluffs for man charged with murder in death of 16-month-old girl
Jazlynn Harshbarger

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Attorneys on both sides worked to choose a jury Tuesday for the the trial of a Council Bluffs man accused of first-degree murder in the April 2018 death of a 16-month-old girl.

Javon Jennings, 22, has pleaded not guilty. He rejected a plea offer for a lesser sentence for the third time as of Tuesday since proceedings began.

Jennings is being held at the Pottawattamie County Jail on $1 million bond. He faces life in prison without parole.

According to court records, Council Bluffs police responded to an apartment in the 800 block of Second Avenue on the morning of April 19, 2018, to find Jazlynn Harshbarger unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jennings was arrested and originally charged with child endangerment in connection with the child’s death. He later was charged with murder after autopsy results were submitted by investigators.

According to Bluffs police, Jennings was the sole caretaker of the girl in the hours before her death.

The trial will resume Wednesday morning with opening statements. The trial is expected to finish by the end of next week.

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