NEW ORLEANS — The family of a pastor’s wife who was fatally run over while being carjacked in her family’s Gentilly driveway was shocked to learn in court today that the 14-year-old suspect in the case had been free since late January.
The 14-year-old is one of three defendants in the killing of Jeannot Plessy, who was hit by her own vehicle as it was being stolen on Nov. 27.
While the older defendants – 18-year-old Edwin Cottrell and 17-year-old Jontrell Robinson – remain locked up on bail in adult court, the 14-year-old was free on bail while his case was transferred to juvenile court on Wednesday.
That all changed at the juvenile’s first appearance before Juvenile Court Judge Candice Bates-Anderson. The judge ordered the 14-year-old detained until trial.
Defense attorneys objected, citing the juvenile’s return to school, a clean drug test and participation in a community re-entry program. But Bates-Anderson said the seriousness of the crime weighed on her decision.
“I have kids that I have detained for far less serious offenses,” Bates-Anderson said.
As the 14-year-old’s mother broke down in tears, the attorneys vowed to appeal the decision.
Plessy’s daughter, Nadia Sanchez, said the family experienced a form of emotional whiplash, first learning that the 14-year-old had been free, but then seeing him removed in handcuffs in his school uniform.
“It's a little unsettling for us to think that someone like that was out in the public, free to do it again,” Sanchez said. “But again, like I said, I think we can breathe a little easier now knowing that he is detained. There is some kind of consequence that he's feeling at this point for the actions that he took.”
Cottrell and Robinson face charges in state court that include second-degree murder and robbery. They are each being held on a bail of $510,000, and no trial date has been set.
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Robinson is the older brother of the 14-year-old defendant, whose manslaughter trial was set for May 29.