A JUDGE put a gag order in place, stopping law enforcement from making public comments about an investigation into the death of a four-year-old girl.
A gag order was put in place, stopping lawyers and law enforcement from publically speaking about the case of Athena Brownfield[/caption]
Ivon Adams was charged with Athena’s murder and with child neglect[/caption]
Athena was declared missing on January 10 but her remains were found a week later after a desperate search.
Two caregivers were charged in connection with the child’s death.
Ivon Adams was charged with Athena’s murder while he and his wife, Alysia Adams, have been charged with child neglect.
Caddo Couty District Court Judge David Stephens signed a gag order, prohibiting lawyers and law enforcement from talking about the case in public.
“Gag orders are exceedingly rare, and they generally only occur in the most high profile of cases,” said attorney Ed Blau with the Blau Law Firm to KOCO.
“Two examples are the Oklahoma City bombing and the Daniel Holtzclaw case.”
According to Blau, public interest is a big reason why gag orders, especially in this case, are serious.
He added that a judge may issue a gag order if they feel that a defendant’s right to trial may be impacted and since Athena’s case was getting large, international attention, a gag order may have been needed.
“If you see 15 posts from people you’re friends with on Facebook all saying someone is guilty, it’s hard to say that’s not going to affect you on some level,” said Blau.
“The reason why a judge does that is so when a case gets to a jury trial, hopefully not too many of the potential jurors would have heard so much about the case that they form an opinion about it.”
This also means lawyers from both the prosecution and the defense won’t be able to speak to comment to the public and there won’t be information from counsel or law enforcement on this case in Caddo county.
If a gag order isn’t enough to get a good enough jury for trial, sometimes jury trials will be moved to another county.
“Many times, there’s no other remedy other than to change the venue to a different county where there’s a jury pool that isn’t as tainted by information in the public,” said Blau.
LAID TO REST
Athena was born on September 6, 2018, and died on Christmas Day, according to her obituary.
Her favorite color was purple, she loved to play dress up and she was “joined at the hip” with her sister, Adina.
It was Athena’s five-year-old sister that was found wandering by herself by a postal worker on January 10, resulting in Athena being declared missing.
Her sister was placed into protective custody, said the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Documents reveal that Athena spoke of her caretakers as if they were her parents.
Jacklyn Gilmore, who knew the couple, told local Oklahoma news station KFOR about her that her ex-boyfriend and Ivon owned a fence-building company together, so she has had many interactions with the accused murderer.
She revealed Ivon had never been aggressive towards children in front of her.
“I worked with him sometimes, and we built fences, and he brought two kids with him a lot of times… and they helped him and he never even raised his voice,” said Gilmore.
But she also said her ex-boyfriend and Ivon parted ways on bad terms after Ivon was accused of owing his partner money.
“They don’t talk because when the renting thing happened, they (Ivon and Alysia Adams) never paid rent there… we started to ask him after like two years… trust me, they never talked to us again,” said Gilmore.
According to the documents obtained by KSWO, Athena’s sister told police that she had been left in the house by herself and was “tired of being alone” after her sister’s disappearance.
Alysia reportedly told police that her estranged husband Ivon beat little Athena to death and then proceeded to bury the child’s body.
The report claims that Athena “was not moving and her eyes were barely open,” following the heartless attack.
“He then laid her on the ground and punched her at least three more times in the chest.”
Athena, the court docs added, “never moved after that.”
Alysia reportedly told investigators that Ivon allegedly fled the home with Athena’s body the following day at around 1am.
The girls’ biological parents have been interviewed by agents and are cooperating with the investigation.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation revealed that Alysia is related to Athena and Adina.
His wife, Alysia Adams, was also charged with child neglect[/caption]
Funeral services for the young girl will take place tomorrow[/caption]