Judge withdraws guilty plea by mother of girl locked in closet - KCTV5

Judge withdraws guilty plea by mother of girl found locked in closet

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Jacole Prince says she did not abuse her daughter and she wants her day in court.

Jackson County District Court Judge John Torrence allowed Jacole Prince, 30, to withdraw her guilty plea involving the treatment of her daughter known as "L.P."

Torrence's decision came after Prince wrote recently a lengthy letter to a Kansas City newspaper saying her public defender coerced her into pleading guilty last month.

Prince also wrote Torrence to say she didn't mean to plead guilty to assault, child abuse and child endangerment.

Torrance has removed himself from the case and asked the court's presiding judge to assign a new judge. Prince was scheduled to be sentenced on April 25.

The state is seeking 20 years in prison.

Prince's boyfriend has already pleaded guilty.

The case drew national headlines after Prince's malnourished then 10-year-old daughter was found locked and living in a tiny closet in deplorable conditions.

As part of her guilty plea, Prince admitted to tying the door to the closet with shoestrings and not feeding her daughter every day. The girl hadn't attended school since kindergarten.

It wasn't until a call to the child abuse hotline led Kansas City police to the apartment at 1318 Highland Ave. and police found the girl severely malnourished and dirty.

The state said doctors would testify that she was so malnourished that she suffered heart failure and underwent heart transplant surgery earlier this year. She will have long-lasting developmental problems.

In her letter, Prince reportedly said prosecutors have no evidence and she never starved her daughter or intentionally hurt her. She also reportedly wrote that she didn't confine her daughter to the closet, but said her daughter did have problems with eating food. She said her children were active and fit.

"I love my girls and miss them ever day. Not a moment that goes by that I don't think about them and all the good times we had," she wrote to the Kansas City Star. "I wish I could hug and kiss them. See them, write and talk to them and tell them I love them. I will be there to get them in a minute. I never meant for any of this to happen."

She said she doesn't want people to look at her like she's a "monster."

"I've got to get out and get my girls back in Jesus' name. Amen," she concluded.

A new trial date has not been set.

Click here and here to see previous coverage.

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