McClure requests bail in aggravated assault retrial

Jalene McClure is getting a new trial.

Now she wants new bail.

In a petition filed this week, attorney Bernard Cantorna asked the Centre County court to grant bail for the 42-year-old woman.

McClure was convicted in 2014 of aggravated assault on an infant in her day care and sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.

She maintained that she fell while holding the 5-month-old child, who suffered a subdural hematoma, brain cell damage and hemorrhaging. Judge Bradley Lunsford called it “one of the worst incidents of child abuse” he had seen.

However, the Superior Court vacated Lunsford’s sentence and sent the case back to Centre County for a new trial, but McClure remains an inmate at Cambridge Springs state prison in Crawford County.

“Bail pending trial is a matter of right, and given the Superior Court’s grant of a new trial and Ms. McClure’s change in legal status, she should be released on bail,” Cantorna wrote in documents filed in Centre County court this week.

McClure was originally released on unsecured bond when arrested in 2012. She was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment. She was convicted of all four charges.

District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller says she will be pursuing higher bail.

“We will definitely seek imposition of substantial bail. This is a serious violent crime against a helpless ... child who was deliberately shaken and then her head was struck against a hard object and she almost died. Her parents were actually told to say goodbye to her. If this case does not cry out for substantial bail, no case does,” Parks Miller said.

Lunsford will not hear the new trial as he has left the bench, replaced by Judge Katie Oliver. Text messages between Lunsford and members of the District Attorney’s Office, allegedly made during trial, were an issue raised in McClure’s appeal. The defense asked for Lunsford’s recusal, but the Superior Court deemed that request moot in light of Lunsford’s retirement.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce