Update #2: Routh just filed a motion to strike Judge Weill's response and the transcript posted below. (2:00 PM)
Update: Jimmie Gates reported on this story in the Clarion-Ledger. He only published Hinds County Public Defender Michelle Purvis's account and none of the documents that were available online.
Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill revoked the bond of Lauren Shell Blackwell Wednesday. A Hinds County grand jury indicted Blackwell and Walter Lee Young for capital murder in the death of 81 year-old Lee Kendrick last October. They were indicted for auto theft as well as they allegedly stole the victim's car after killing him. However, the arraignment ended with the jailing of public defender Chris Routh for contempt of court although the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered his release later in the day.
Kendrick was murdered at the Edgewood Apartments in a vacant unit. JPD accused Blackwell of luring Kendrick to the apartment after she met him in Pearl at Romantic Adventures. She was arrested and charged last October. County Court Judge Melvin Priester, Sr. allowed her to remain free on house arrest and a $1,000 bond, since she was pregnant, over the objections of prosecutors Young is the cousin of her boyfriend. Earlier post about hearing, murder, and copy of transcript.
Blackwell's arraignment was held yesterday. Judge Weill revoked her bond and she is currently incarcerated at the Hinds County Detention Center in Jackson. Public Defender Chris Routh represented Blackwell. Blackwell appeared late for her arraignment with her baby in her arms. Routh argued that she should be allowed to remain free on bond. Prosecutor Mike Henry objected and said that capital murder suspects were not granted bond as a matter of practice. He said that she was not from Jackson and the stolen car was located in Jefferson County.
|Blackwell in custody|
However, Routh said Blackwell needed to be home with her baby for medical reasons. He said she could only give her baby breast milk since he suffered from a gastrointestinal condition. However, Judge Weill ruled that the only evidence he offered was a set of general discharge instructions that recommended she give her baby breast milk. However, the actual general discharge instructions said that Blackwell was to feed her baby with breast milk or Similac Neosure. Judge Weill said the defendant presented no evidence whatsoever that her child suffered from a gastrointestinal problem or that the baby could only be fed breast-milk.
Judge Weill denied bond and cited the capital murder charge and DNA evidence placing Blackwell at the scene of the crime as the basis for his ruling. Judge Weill then adjourned the hearing but Routh then attempted to address the court. The transcript states:
Court: That will conclude the hearing.
Routh: Your honor, if I may, I'm --
Court: No you may not. We're done here, Mr. Routh.
Routh: Your honor, the constitution
Court: Excuse me, Mr. Routh.
Court: Mr. Routh
Routh: that the court
Court: please be seated.
Routh: place on the record
Court: please be seated.
Routh: reasons for denying bail. The court has not done that.
Court; All right. You're in contempt. direct criminal contempt, Mr. Routh, and we're going to take a ten-minute break. (Court issues instructions on break)
Court: All right, first of all, we've got to have order in this courtroom. Whether we've got civil, criminal matters going on, we've just got to have order and I"m charged with maintaining that order.
Mr. Routh, you've had plenty of opportunity to make a record today and make your arguments. I'll note that you blatantly misrepresented something on the record today. (Copy of discharge instructions are on p.29 of documents posted below.) After I made my ruling, I told you I was not going not hear any further argument and you repeatedly refused my directive to sit down. I advised you to file a detailed written motion if you had anything else to present on this issue and I'll still consider any written motion on the bond issue.
Judge Weill then found Routh to be in criminal contempt of court and sentenced him to jail for the remainder of the business day. Attorney Merrida Coxwell filed an emergency writ of habeas corpus with the Mississippi Supreme Court. The court ordered the release of Routh on a $500 bond as he appealed the finding of contempt.
Note: Here is a copy of the transcript, appeal by Routh, and Mississippi Supreme Court order.