Mother Helps Son Escape Juvenile County Court

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Charges have been filed against a mother who allegedly helped her juvenile son escape from a county court last week.

Rebecca Gardner brought her son to Franklin County Juvenile Court for felony weapons and burglary charges. The judge ordered 17-year-old Shakil Gardner await trial at the County Juvenile Detention Center. That’s when Shakil’s mother allegedly helped the teen flee the courtroom by blocking court personnel from catching him. There is no video in the courtroom, says Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, but there were plenty of witnesses.

“Including the magistrate that was hearing the case, the prosecutor that was presenting it, and other people who had business before the court that day,” says O’Brien. Two days after the escape, the teen turned himself in.

Rebecca Gardner has been charged with one count of escape and one count of obstructing justice. Both charges are felonies and could result in a combined sentence of up to 13 years.

O’Brien says this type of offense is rare.

“In juvenile court there’s typically less in-court security than there is in the general division of common pleas court, because that’s where the more serious crimes involving adults are heard,” says O’Brien.

Rebecca Gardner is currently out on bond. Her arraignment is set for January 11th.

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