July 26, 2014

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Another disappointment for Watkins family PDF Print E-mail

 

Another disappointment for Watkins family (originally published 4-5-12)

Jennifer Watkins continues to ignore court visitation order

 

By Michael Kloppenburg

Star-Gazette reporter

 

In another major disappointment for the Cass County relatives of four-year old Sidney Watkins, Sidney’s mother, Jennifer, has again ignored court ordered visitation and failed to produce Sidney for a week-long visit with her grandparents, Dale and Penny Watkins, on Friday afternoon.

Dale and Penny, along with other relatives, waited at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for Sidney and, when no one brought her, Penny had phone conversations with Jennifer’s mother, Deborah Webster. According to Penny, Webster provided a series of excuses for not bringing Sidney including Sidney was in pre-k, Jennifer had just started a new job, and they had no money.

When Penny pointed out that Sidney was receiving Social Security money, she said Webster responded, “Who’s paying my way?”

Penny said the phone conversation ended when she asked Webster if she was not bringing Sidney and Webster said she was not. Penny said she and Dale have no contact information for Jennifer.

“They snub their nose at the law,” said Penny when she learned that Sidney, who turns five in June, would not be produced for visitation.

The disappointment Friday promises a new round of legal proceedings in the bitter visitation battle between Sidney’s paternal grandparents and her mother and her relatives. Dale and Penny are the parents of Sidney’s father, Steven Watkins, who was gunned down while attempting to pick up Sidney for visitation at the home of Jennifer’s grandparents, Kenneth and Shirley Skinner. Jennifer was also in the home at the time. Shirley was convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting and is serving a 55-year prison sentence.

In late 2010, Cass County Circuit Judge Bob Hardwick, Jr. gave visitation rights with Sidney to Dale and Penny. Jennifer only produced Sidney for a few visits, and ignored others, before moving to Orange County in Florida as the possibility of court sanctions against her loomed.

Last year, Jennifer spent five months in jail in Florida while Illinois sought her extradition to face civil contempt and misdemeanor criminal charges stemming from her non-compliance with the visitation order. An Orange County judge eventually ruled against extradition.

Nicole Nelson, one of the couple’s Springfield attorneys, said a petition will be filed demanding Jennifer show why she should not be held in contempt of court for not producing Sidney.

Cass County has jurisdiction of the visitation case. Jennifer tried to have Dale and Penny’s visitation order registered in Orange County last summer, but that court ruled Cass County should retain control of the visitation case. As Florida does not recognize grandparent visitation rights, this could have resulted in Dale and Penny losing visitation rights.

In the wake of Friday’s disappointment, Penny said she and Dale were “disappointed” but “not defeated.”

“We will continue our journey, stand strong, continue down the road,” said Penny.

By Michael Kloppenburg

Star-Gazette reporter

 

In another major disappointment for the Cass County relatives of four-year old Sidney Watkins, Sidney’s mother, Jennifer, has again ignored court ordered visitation and failed to produce Sidney for a week-long visit with her grandparents, Dale and Penny Watkins, on Friday afternoon.

Dale and Penny, along with other relatives, waited at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for Sidney and, when no one brought her, Penny had phone conversations with Jennifer’s mother, Deborah Webster. According to Penny, Webster provided a series of excuses for not bringing Sidney including Sidney was in pre-K, Jennifer had just started a new job, and they had no money.

When Penny pointed out that Sidney was receiving Social Security money, she said Webster responded, “Who’s paying my way?”

Penny said the phone conversation ended when she asked Webster if she was not bringing Sidney and Webster said she was not. Penny said she and Dale have no contact information for Jennifer.

“They snub their nose at the law,” said Penny when she learned that Sidney, who turns five in June, would not be produced for visitation.

The disappointment Friday promises a new round of legal proceedings in the bitter visitation battle between Sidney’s paternal grandparents and her mother and her relatives. Dale and Penny are the parents of Sidney’s father, Steven Watkins, who was gunned down while attempting to pick up Sidney for visitation at the home of Jennifer’s grandparents, Kenneth and Shirley Skinner. Jennifer was also in the home at the time. Shirley was convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting and is serving a 55-year prison sentence.

In late 2010, Cass County Circuit Judge Bob Hardwick, Jr. gave visitation rights with Sidney to Dale and Penny. Jennifer only produced Sidney for a few visits, and ignored others, before moving to Orange County in Florida as the possibility of court sanctions against her loomed.

Last year, Jennifer spent five months in jail in Florida while Illinois sought her extradition to face civil contempt and misdemeanor criminal charges stemming from her non-compliance with the visitation order. An Orange County judge eventually ruled against extradition.

Nicole Nelson, one of the couple’s Springfield attorneys, said a petition will be filed demanding Jennifer show why she should not be held in contempt of court for not producing Sidney.

Cass County has jurisdiction of the visitation case. Jennifer tried to have Dale and Penny’s visitation order registered in Orange County last summer, but that court ruled Cass County should retain control of the visitation case. As Florida does not recognize grandparent visitation rights, this could have resulted in Dale and Penny losing visitation rights.

In the wake of Friday’s disappointment, Penny said she and Dale were “disappointed” but “not defeated.”

“We will continue our journey, stand strong, continue down the road,” said Penny.