Kory Lenorad Lennon and Tonja Lashay Sydnor, each charged with second-degree murder in the May 27 death of 5-year-old Christian Sydnor, will have their days in court after separate hearings Friday in Halifax County Circuit Court.
Lennon’s case has been continued until Thursday, Jan. 9, when a trial date is expected to be set.
Sydnor is scheduled be tried by a jury March 30 through April 3.
Judge Robert Morrison certified second-degree murders charges against Lennon and Sydnor on Oct. 1 following a hearing in Halifax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Morrison also certified charges of felony child endangerment against both Lennon and Sydnor, and he dismissed a charge against Lennon for possessing a firearm while under a protective order, while commonwealth’s attorney Tracy Martin nol prossed a charge against Lennon for carrying a concealed weapon.
Martin introduced testimony from deputy Joe Franco and investigators Sam Edmonds and Mike Womack at the October hearing supporting the certification of second-degree murder charges with Franco testifying he had contact with both defendants at the Southern Virginia Car Wash in Riverdale on May 27.
Franco said he was responding to a 911-dispatch call for an unresponsive juvenile who was being treated in the back of an ambulance when he arrived.
Sydnor told him multiple times at the car wash the child had fallen off his bike, and she also told him she had whipped the child with a belt earlier that day, according to Franco.
Edmonds told the court he had taken photographs of the deceased child at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital, testifying the child had bruises all over his body, including his head, face, torso, legs and back as well as abrasions.
The medical examiner’s report stated Christian Sydnor died from blunt force trauma of the head, torso and extremities in a setting of force exercise, according to Martin.
Edmonds told the court that after a search warrant was served at the dwelling occupied by Lennon, Sydnor and the 5-year-old that he observed what appeared to be blood on the walls and a broken crib in the child’s bedroom, and he recovered a belt from the residence.
Womack told the court he took a statement from Lennon indicating he had used a belt on the child twice over the previous weekend but also employed “exercise discipline,” including push-ups and sit-ups.
Lennon told Womack he may have been “a little overaggressive” in punishing the child the evening of May 27.
Sydnor, in a separate statement to Womack, told the investigator she had disciplined the child the afternoon of May 27 before leaving the house around 7 p.m., and Lennon had called her to come back to the house, telling her the child had a breathing problem.
She returned to find the child unresponsive, telling Lennon to call 911.
Sydnor told Womack the child had no visible injuries when she left the house the evening of May 27.
Sydnor also told Womack that Lennon had permission to discipline the child and indicated he had whipped the child that weekend. And in a second statement to Womack, Sydnor indicated she hadn’t whipped the child at all the previous weekend.
Morrison denied a motion by Sydnor’s attorney, Thomas Jones of Charlotte County, to strike commonwealth’s evidence against his client for child endangerment, with Jones alleging no evidence was presented indicating the victim was under 18 years of age.
Martin responded she had noted the victim’s age during initial questioning of her witnesses, with Morrison adding photos of the victim clearly indicated he was under 18-years-old.