James P. Jennings: Man Forced Stepson to Eat Screws, Police Charge

Mar 26, 2012 at 9:27 am
click to enlarge James Jennings, currently in custody for abusing his stepson.
James Jennings, currently in custody for abusing his stepson.
James P. Jennings, 39, became enraged with his 12-year-old stepson -- according to police -- when the boy disobeyed him and left his room during the night to eat cookies, which got some crumbs on the floor.  Jennings' parenting solution to this minor disobedience was apparently to force the boy to do hundreds of knuckle push-ups, then beat him with a paddle until the paddle broke. All because Jennings was worried that his dogs would eat the cookie crumbs and become ill.

It's a pity Jennings couldn't show such concern about what he made the boy eat.

Sometime during Jennings' rampage, he allegedly came across a pair of screws on the floor. He then had the bright idea to force the boy to eat these as further punishment -- because the hours of beatings he had endured up to this point weren't enough, apparently.

Jennings then sent the child to school, where he complained to a teacher of a sore shoulder. The school nurse quickly surmised the boy had been abused, and contacted law enforcement. The boy has since been placed in a foster home; he will need further medical attention for the screws that are still inside him.

Shockingly, this all occurred at Scott Air Force Base, where the boy's mother is an active-duty member of the armed forces. The mother, Lashawn M. Jennings, was not present when the screw-eating and beatings occurred, but investigators have determined she was somehow involved in earlier incidents of abuse. She's being held on a $20,000 bond for those incidents.

Jennings has been charged with one count of aggravated battery, two counts of domestic battery and four counts of endangering the life/health of a child. He's being held on $400,000 bond.