Moms

Before attack, teen said kids' father was behaving oddly

FORT WORTH -- Three weeks ago, 19-year-old Christy Jenkins recounted for police the strange behavior of James Cody Sparks, the father of her two young daughters.

Sparks, 23, who she said had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, had begun saying strange things during two weeks she had stayed with him. She described how he had ordered her into his house Sept. 6 and then dragged her inside when she refused.

And how he had placed his hands around her neck, pushing her down onto the bed while telling her that the angels were ready for her and that he was going to send her to them, according to a Fort Worth police report.

That scared Jenkins, relatives said. Although she initially told police that she didn't want to file a complaint against Sparks, they said, at their urging, she later indicated to police that she had changed her mind.

On Monday night, however, Jenkins, who was living with her grandmother, returned to Sparks' home in the 300 block of Chandler Drive to pick up some medical information so she could take one of her daughters to the doctor. There, according to Sgt. Chad Mahaffey, they argued, and Sparks stabbed Jenkins several times.

Jenkins died Tuesday morning. Relatives said her throat had been sliced and some of her fingers almost cut off.

"They couldn't get her to quit bleeding," said Mary Johnson, Jenkins' aunt.

Sparks, who fled his home before officers arrived, was arrested Monday night on suspicion of aggravated assault. Officers found him in a vehicle being driven by his grandmother on north Interstate 35W.

Because of Jenkins' death, he now faces a murder charge, police said.

Sparks was in the Mansfield Jail on Tuesday night with bail set at $250,000.

Sparks' 67-year-old grandmother, Haroldleen Downing, was also arrested, accused of giving investigators false information about her grandson's location. She was released from jail after posting $2,000 bail.

Tarrant County court records show that Sparks has convictions for assault, aggravated assault and driving while intoxicated.

In October 2008, he was sentenced to 75 days in jail for cutting Jenkins' arm with a razor. According to a police report, Sparks cut her left arm, saying, "You want to feel something," and then licked the blood from her arm.

Johnson said Sparks had wanted Jenkins to bring their daughters -- ages 14 months and 2 months -- with her Monday night, but a relative advised against it because one child was asleep and the other was taking a bath.

She said relatives have since learned that Sparks reportedly told someone that he intended to harm the children as well.

"Luckily the kids weren't there," Johnson said. "She was a good mother. She loved her kids. She was just young and got in a bad situation."

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

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