A Round Lake Beach woman accused of killing her son then taking his body onto a Metra train to Chicago broke down in tears Thursday after pleading not guilty to first-degree murder charges.
Jamie L. Jones, 29, could face life in prison if found guilty of the 12 first-degree murder charges filed last month in connection with the death 6-year-old Carl Rice Jr.
Authorities say the boy died in his sleep overnight between June 30 and July 1, after his mother severely beat him at their home in the 1800 block of Cedar Lake Road.
Jones also faces up to 60 years behind bars if found guilty on aggravated battery to a person under 13 years of age, and up to 5 years in prison if found guilty of concealment of a homicidal death. Her case is scheduled to go to trial April 2.
Lake County prosecutors are seeking to enhance the sentencing range for Jones to life in prison instead of the standard 60-year maximum.
Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Ari Fisz said the enhancement is requested because Jones is accused of "beating her son to death with sufficient force to cause a major brain injury."
Surveillance video from July 1 shows Jones carrying the child into the Round Lake Beach Metra station to catch a train to Chicago. At the train station, she propped the boy's body up in a seat and went outside to smoke a cigarette, then returned to the station and carried then body onto a commuter train.
Video shows that after arriving in Chicago, Jones carried the body through Union Station before getting into a car outside and being driven to her parents' home.
Authorities say later that morning Jones alerted family members that something was wrong with Carl when the child did not wake up. He was pronounced dead a short time later.
An autopsy conducted by the Cook County medical examiner's office showed Carl suffered extensive bruising on his face, arms, chest, buttocks, thighs, skull and inside his mouth. The medical examiner determined Carl died six to eight hours before authorities were called.
Jones is being held in the Lake County jail on $3 million bail. She is due back in court Jan. 3 for a case management hearing.