Nearly four years after her daughter was killed, Raelene Jemison said she keeps the 10-month-old’s ashes with her, tucked into a necklace.
“I will never forgive the person that did this to her. She was just a sweet, innocent, beautiful little girl who was too young to even ask for help,” Jemison said Friday during a sentencing hearing for her daughter’s father, who was convicted of murder in the girl’s 2018 death.
In August, a jury found 35-year-old Eric Chu guilty of first-degree murder in Jordyn Chu’s death. District Judge Tierra Jones sentenced Chu on Friday to 20 years to life in prison.
On Jan. 23, 2018, Chu called 911 to report that Jordyn was convulsing and not breathing. Chu told police Jordyn had a seizure while he was giving her a bath, and he denied causing the extensive brain injuries she was found with, according to an arrest warrant.
Jordyn died the next day at University Medical Center. The Clark County coroner’s office ruled her death a homicide due to blunt force injuries to her head and neck.
“The photos in this case is something I, along with everybody else, will never be able to unsee,” Jones said before issuing the sentence.
Prosecutor Michelle Jobe said Jordyn had injuries consistent with “repeated abuse,” including fractures to her ribs and head, bleeding in her brain and bruising to her face.
“There was nothing other than violence that could have caused her death,” she said.
Chu has a history of domestic violence, Jobe said, and had expressed anger at his children in the past. Shortly after the twins were born, he threw a glass bottle against a wall and said, “I understand why parents kill their kids,” Jobe said.
Defense attorney Michael Sanft said jurors struggled to convict Chu after hearing a recording of his panicked 911 call. Chu on Friday denied hurting Jordyn and said he intended to appeal his conviction.
According to Chu’s arrest warrant, Jemison had told police she tried to leave Chu but feared for her and her family’s safety.
“There was no way he would let me leave,” she told the Review-Journal in 2018.
Clark County Department of Family Services officials investigated a neglect allegation months before Jordyn’s death, although the report was found unsubstantiated. Jemison had told police that Chu hit her on several occasions and that she had told him he was too rough with their children, the warrant said.
On Friday, Jemison recounted how she was unable to hold Jordyn as the girl was taken off life support. Jordyn’s twin and older brother don’t know why she died, but Jemison knows that one day she’ll have to explain.
Jemison said she grieves over the experiences she wanted to have with her daughter as Jordyn grew up. Instead, she’s left with just photos from the “short 10 months” of Jordyn’s life.
“I wanted to have a lifetime of fun photos with Jordyn,” she said.