Judge withdraws Jacole Prince’s guilty plea in case of severely malnourished daughter
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A judge has set aside a mother’s guilty plea after she contacted him and said she never intended to plead guilty to two of the three felonies she was charged with in connection to the abuse of her daughter.
According to online court records, Circuit Judge John Torrence withdrew 30-year-old Jacole Prince’s guilty plea after she sent him a post card saying she never intended to plead guilty.
In addition to sending a postcard to Torrence, Prince reportedly sent a 42-page letter to the Kansas City Star saying she pleaded guilty only after her public defender Curtis Winegarner forced her to do so. Winegarner has not responded to the Star’s requests for comments.
Prince is the mother of a girl identified in court documents at “LP,” who was discovered severely malnourished in a locked closet surrounded by her own feces in June 2012. The 10-year-old girl weighed just 32 pounds.
On Jan. 7, 2014, Prince pleaded guilty to three felonies connected to the abuse of her daughter. However, Prince wasn’t initially sure she wanted to plead guilty. After a meeting with her lawyers, Prince entered a guilty plea to first-degree assault, abuse of a child and endangering the welfare of a child. In exchange for her guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed not to seek punishment longer than 20 years in prison for all of the counts.
Prince left the courtroom with her lawyers and did not speak to reporters, but in front of a judge she said she suffers from depression and has been treated for depression while in jail. Her lawyer says Prince’s depression is not a defense against the charges.
Prince was scheduled to be sentenced in April.
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