PANOLA COUNTY, Miss. — A Mississippi couple charged with murder in their infant son’s death appeared in Panola County Justice Court on Tuesday.
Jana Ray Bruce and Kevin Nicholas Bruce are charged with capital murder in the death of their seven-month-old son, Kevin Bruce Jr., who died on or around April 30 this year.
According to court information, both engaged in felony child abuse. Both requested public defenders Tuesday, as charges were read against them.
The public defender normally assigned to felony cases for preliminary and bond hearings has a conflict, and two separate attorneys will be appointed to represent the Bruces.
The pair are being held in Panola County jail without bond. The Bruces were arrested Friday at their home south of Sardis.
While authorities haven’t revealed many details of the case, Kevin Bruce’s grandmother, who lives next door to the couple, said she felt something was wrong with the baby.
“He just — something was wrong with him,” Barbara Wells said Monday.
She said it appears to have taken about seven months for authorities to act, the same number of months Kevin Jr. was alive.
“It was seven months, about seven months before the autopsy even come back. It must have recently come back ’cause that’s when they arrested them,” Wells said.
Still, Wells stood by her relatives and said they had no part in whatever happened to their son.
“They did not do nothing to that baby. I don’t care what nobody says. I knew them both,” she said. “He and her would not do anything like this. That baby died because he just didn’t develop right.”
There is no scheduled court date for the Bruces. The Panola County sheriff has not commented on the case.