PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — A judge wants to review surveillance video before proceeding in the criminal case against a fired Mississippi school bus driver accused of sitting on and threatening to kill a special needs child.
Judge Robert Krebs on Monday delayed prosecution of former middle school bus driver Antioinette Jane Raymond so he can watch the footage.
Raymond was set to plead no contest to misdemeanor charges of simple assault and contributing to the delinquency, neglect or abuse of a child, The Sun Herald reported .
The sentencing recommendation was a fine of $2,000 and a suspended jail sentence.
The judge made the decision after Thomas Pearce, the student’s grandfather, questioned why only misdemeanor charges resulted in the case against Raymond and former special education teacher, Kerri Anne Nettles, who was also on the bus.
“This lady and her accomplice physically abused my special needs granddaughter,” Pearce said.
But Krebs says he doesn’t have to follow that recommendation and wants to review video of the bus ride near the Mississippi coast before proceeding.
In the video from the 2014-15 school year, an adult is heard threatening to choke and kill the girl if she doesn’t quiet down. An adult is also shown sitting on her and taunting her.
“Now, go ahead, move, big girl,” the child is told as she’s pinned down. “Can you move now? Huh? You going to shut that mouth, huh? You going to holler anymore? You do it again, I’m going to warn you again. You better shut your mouth. You hear me? You hear me?”
At one point the girl calls out for her Paw Paw, and is told that “Paw Paw is gone. He left you. He left you.”
The child, who was 14 at the time, was born with a chromosome disorder called 1p36 deletion syndrome, the newspaper has reported . The disease can cause people affected to have temper tantrums, bite themselves and exhibit other behavioral problems.
Earlier this year, Nettles was allowed to plead no contest to misdemeanor charges of assault and contributing to the neglect of a child in May. She was fined $3,000 and given a suspended jail sentence.
The judge on Monday reset the plea hearing for Raymond for Aug. 6. The judge said at the hearing that he planned to review any videos that exist and then weigh the evidence. He didn’t say when he would make a decision.
“I can assure you this. When you see that tape you’re going to be just as mad as everybody else was,” Pearce told the judge during Monday’s hearing.
“And in my eyes, I don’t see how it could be a misdemeanor for these brutal crimes they’ve done to my special needs granddaughter who cannot take care of herself, who cannot speak up for herself,” Pearce added.
The Jackson County School District has fired both women.