FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — New twists and turns in the prosecution of Shane Patton.
The man who pleaded guilty last week in the death of a two-year old is getting a new lawyer, and there are indications he will try to take back his admission of guilt.
The public defender assigned to 32-year old Shane Patton’s case Tuesday morning asked for and was granted the right to withdraw from the case.
Attorney Ryan Gardner cited a significant breakdown in the attorney/client relationship.
The chief public defender for the county lobbied the judge on Gardner’s behalf.
“Mr. Gardner can’t trust anything that Mr. Patton is doing or saying, because you don’t secretly record a conversation you have with your attorney,” Michelle Kraus said.
Clips from that secretly recorded conversation were posted to social media.
Shane Patton is newly married.
His wife, Trista Patton, tells us, she and her husband put the recordings on Facebook to demonstrate that Patton wasn’t getting good representation from his attorney, that he was being pressured to plead guilty.
“He may not have forced Shane, but he definitely made Shane feel there was no other option but to sign this plea and he…there was going to be no other way out,” Trista Patton said.
She says when her husband is assigned his new public defender, he will push to withdraw that guilty plea.
Patton admitted guilt July 26th to felony neglect in the death of his then-girlfriend’s daughter Jojo Belcher, who died in January 2018.
Under the plea, he could get up to a 16-year prison sentence.
The child was found dead in the morning tightly wrapped in a blanket.
The coroner determined she died from asphyxia due to compression of the neck and that it was a homicide.
Dr. Darin Wolfe said he believed the injuries found in the neck and mouth would be consistent with a hand over both the mouth and neck.
The final postmortem report also detailed evidence of fractures that had healed on the toddler’s arms.
Crystal Belcher, the mother of JoJo Belcher, pleaded guilty to a neglect charge back in March and faces up to three years in prison when she’s sentenced.
Jojo’s grandfather has been watching the maneuvering in court.
He wants severe punishment for both defendants.
“They’re trying to push it off on each other and so they make their time easier, they’re both guilty, the mom knew what was going on, and the boyfriend knew what was going on,” Paul Belcher said.
Prosecutors received a report that Shane Patton might try to skip town after his guilty plea.
Because of that, a judge revoked Patton’s bond and issued a warrant for his arrest.
He showed up for a scheduled court hearing Tuesday, and was taken back into custody.
Patton will have a new lawyer appointed before his next court hearing set for August 13th.
Jazlynn Bebout contributed to this report.