The last time Brandie McLean, 28, Joplin, had an opportunity for a preliminary hearing on two forgery charges, she waived it. That was on Feb. 17. That was shortly before she pleaded guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court.
Since then, she has withdrawn the guilty plea and on July 1, through her new attorney Juddson McPherson of Joplin, she has filed a request for a preliminary hearing.
Life has changed dramatically for Ms. McLean over the past several months.
Her five children were taken from her following an incident in which her two-year-old somehow climbed out on the roof while Ms. McLean was sleeping in her house, a situation she attributed to prescription drugs she was taking. One of those children, eight-year-old Braxton Wooden, was shot to death June 2 at the Alba foster home in which he was staying. The teenage son of the foster parents used one of his father's guns to shoot Braxton Wooden in the head while they were playing a game of cops and robbers. No charges were filed against the foster parents.
With the knowledge that she might never regain custody of her children with felony convictions on her record, Ms. McLean withdrew her guilty pleas, discharged the public defender, Nicki Neil, who was handling her case, and hired McPherson, who has also speculated in televised reports that a lawsuit may be filed against the foster parents.