Parents charged with homicide given public defenders

GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — A Gloucester County couple convicted of severely abusing one child by keeping her in a cage is now charged with homicide in the death of their son.

On June 10, Brian and Shannon Gore appeared in court for determination of counsel. Each was granted a public defender.

Last June, a judge sentenced Brian and Shannon Gore to 30 years in prison for the horrific abuse of their 6-year-old daughter. Detectives say she was covered in her own feces, on the brink of starvation, weighing 15 pounds when investigators found her. She was naked and unable to walk, trapped in a crib crafted to imprison her.

“Your daughter looks like somebody in a Nazi death camp,” said Judge Bruce Long in court last year after looking at pictures which he ordered sealed. “I ask myself, as do your attorneys, ‘how can one human being do this to another?’”

In 2011, the couple was also charged with the murder of their seven-month-old son, Connor, who the Gore’s claim died unexpectedly in March 2008. The bones of the young son were found buried under a shed in a box behind their mobile home.

Then Commonwealth’s Attorney Bob Hicks said it would be difficult to prove: “There was nothing there but bones, and I don’t think the medical examiner’s office is going to be able to come up with a cause of death.”

Brian led detectives to Connor’s bones and has always said he was alone when Connor started having breathing problems. He told authorities he did not call 911, and Connor died.

Prosecutors dropped the murder charges due to lack of evidence.

Now, both Brian and Shannon are charged again in Connor’s death. A Grand Jury returned direct indictments for felony homicide and felony child neglect.

“The Grand Jury for Gloucester met on May 5, 2014 and was presented evidence in support of the charges,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Holly Smith said in a release. “The charges are a result of additional information received about the remains of the child found buried under the shed.”

Wednesday, Shannon’s mother Karen talked only to WAVY.com.

“Of course, I was saddened with the new charges. I was heartbroken, and then I was perplexed,” she said. “She’s devastated. How do you bring charges against her when she wasn’t even home when he passed away?”

Karen explained that when authorities discovered the remains, the Commonwealth hired a forensic anthropologist, whose findings, she said, determined there was no starvation nor trauma to the baby.

Karen is adamant that the additional charges after Shannon and Brian have been sentenced to 30 years are “absolutely piling on, absolutely. It has been a very long time,” she said. “Did the Commonwealth wait until they could finally get someone to say what they wanted to say? I don’t know.”

Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Earle Mobley will not comment on the Gore case, but will comment on homicide versus murder: “You would go with felony homicide if the death was contrary to the intentions of the parties involved or accidental, yet it was still in commission of a felony.”

No trial date has been set at this time.

10 On Your Side is actively pursuing more information about this story, specifically what new evidence has surfaced to bring back the charge. Stay with WAVY.com for updates as they become available.

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