We had a stunning conversation on my show moments ago. In all my years on the radio, I’ve never had a prosecutor and defense attorney get into it with each other on the air.
It happened as we continued talking about Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s decision yesterday not to prosecute the parents of Baby Sophia, because she couldn’t prove criminal negligence on the part of the parents. In light of that, I invited her back today to discuss the case of Delea Payne, the daycare center driver who left 3-year-old Ricky Dixon in a van at the St. Louis Science Center for an hour on a hot summer day, August 7th. Joyce explained that she has offered a plea bargain where Payne would plead guilty, get probation and a suspended imposition of sentence, so her record would be purged if she stayed out of trouble.
We were joined by Payne’s attorney, John Shelhorse, who didn’t deny that the boy was left in the van, but claims that his client is not guilty and would not accept the plea bargain.
Joyce said that Shelhorse had just brought her new information about the case, but he responded that the information was not new, and that her office should have discovered it earlier. A heated exchange followed — part of that disagreement has to do with whether Shelhorse is still Payne’s attorney!
After Shelhorse revealed that Payne was not the only one with responsibility for the kids in the van that day, Joyce said that she will review the details and decide how to proceed. Shelhorse says they’re both due in front of a judge next Wednesday.