Muskogee County Judge Denies Request To Drop Charges

Friday, September 15th 2006, 6:14 am
By: News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) -- A Muskogee County judge denies a defense request to dismiss charges against a Braggs woman who is accused of starving and beating her four-year-old son.

Defense attorney Jay Cook argued that delays in the trial of Melanie Smith stem from the district attorney's office and could've been avoided.

Smith has been in jail without bond since her arrest in June 2005. She's been scheduled to go on trial twice -- the latest on August 30th -- but each time the prosecution has asked for a delay because of the unavailability of witnesses.

An attorney for Smith's 5-year-old son says the boy recently suffered a setback and wouldn't be able to testify.

Smith allegedly beat, starved, handcuffed and bound her son with electrical tape. The child was only 26 pounds when authorities found him and his hair was falling out because of malnutrition.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Gourd said the unavailability of witnesses wasn't a deliberate attempt to delay or hamper Smith's defense.

District Judge Thomas Alford ruled that Cook showed nothing to suggest the delay has impaired the defense.