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Fayette purse-snatching suspect seeks release to give birth

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Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

One of the Fayette County sisters charged in connection with a purse snatching that left an 82-year-old woman with a broken hip wants out of jail so her own doctor can deliver her baby.

Jenna Shay Boyd, 26, and her sister, Brittany, 24, are accused of robbing MaryMargaret Yourchik, 82, of her purse on March 22. Yourchik suffered a broken hip and is in a nursing home, according to one of her daughters.

The Boyd sisters are in the Fayette County jail in lieu of bond, but Jenna Boyd's attorney has filed a pretrial motion seeking to have the charges against his client thrown out. Thomas W. Shaffer of Uniontown said prosecutors do not have enough evidence to support charges of theft, criminal conspiracy, child endangerment and conspiracy.

In addition, Shaffer said his client “is six months pregnant and desires to complete labor and give birth to the subject fetus under her own doctor's care.”

Shaffer noted that Jenna Boyd is not a flight risk because she has two children, ages 2 and 18 months, and a job at a Golden Corral restaurant. He contends her $100,000 bail “is excessive under the present circumstances and is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment.”

Jenna Boyd's bond was raised from $25,000 to $100,000 in July. She was free on $25,000 bond for the purse snatching when police accused her of failing to pay for DVDs at the South Union Wal-Mart on July 2 and biting a security officer who confronted her.

In the March 22 purse snatching, police said Brittany Boyd took Yourchik's purse as she pushed a shopping cart through the parking lot of the South Union Wal-Mart and shoved the woman to the ground, breaking her hip in three places.

Jenna Boyd was seated in the front passenger seat of the car at the time, police said. The two sisters fled with three children in the back of their car, according to police.

Brittany Boyd is charged with aggravated assault, robbery, child endangerment, simple assault, theft and criminal conspiracy.

In a third case that is related to the March 22 purse snatching, Jenna Boyd is charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use. According to a criminal complaint, police who went to Jenna Boyd's home to investigate the March 22 purse snatching found eight potted marijuana plants in a bedroom closet.

Jenna Boyd appeared in court on Thursday to enter guilty pleas to charges filed in connection with the marijuana plants and the July 2 Wal-Mart incident. As part of a plea bargain in the marijuana case, prosecutors have recommended she be sentenced to probation.

Jenna Boyd does not have a plea agreement in place for the July 2 Wal-Mart incident, according to District Attorney Jack Heneks, but Shaffer indicated in the pretrial motion he anticipates she will receive probation.

Both sisters are the Fayette County jail awaiting trial in the purse-snatching incident. Brittany Boyd has been in jail since April 9 in lieu of $50,000 bond, while Jenna Boyd has been held since July 2 in lieu of $100,000 bond.

Jenna Boyd is to be sentenced 9 a.m. Dec. 19 before Solomon in the cases involving the marijuana and the July 2 Wal-Mart incident. Her hearing on the motion to have the charges dismissed in the March 22 purse snatching is set for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 20.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166

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