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Sumner evades justice again

Bobbie Jo Sumner evaded justice again Monday when she rejected a plea offer and then demanded to have a jury trial, leaving Judge Bill Fears with no other choice but to delay proceedings until April. Sumner has already been free for almost four years since she allegedly ran down Gordon State College student Alexandra Noelle Desir, 20, on Rose Avenue in Barnesville June 29, 2013, leaving her to die. Sumner and her attorney, Bubba Head, agreed in January to a bench trial this week before Judge Fears. All indications were that she was about to enter a guilty plea when Sumner apparently balked. The courthouse was packed with witnesses ready to testify. Desir’s family was quietly cloistered in a room off the courtroom for their daughter’s day in court. It was not to come. Head twice delayed proceedings to talk with his client. When he came back seeking more time, an obviously perturbed Judge Fears snapped, ‘No. Let’s do something. This case has dragged on long enough.’ Assistant district attorney James Moss announced ready. Head differed. ’We are not ready. We have been working on a proposed resolution since January. I was here Friday working on it. That proposal is now not an acceptable resolution. My client has decided a jury trial is her best option. If we can’t work it out, it is my opinion it is in her best interest as well,’ Head said. ‘The court has tried to be patient. We have officers here. We have witnesses here. The defense has had the opportunity to do what is in her best interest,’ Judge Fears responded. Noting, however, that Sumner has the right to a jury trial, he was forced to grant it. It is tentatively set to begin April 25. Head has already noted he has a conflict that week which could mean yet another delay. Sumner remains free on bond in the interim. She is charged with first degree vehicular homicide, hit and run and four counts of making false statements. The latest delay in a long sequence of them, infuriated court personnel, observers and many of those called to testify. The halls of the courthouse resonated with their displeasure as the frustrated throng dispersed.

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