Murder charge against stepmother dropped, so what's next? - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Murder charge against stepmother dropped, so what's next?

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Patricia Redman's lawyers argued that there was not enough evidence to hold her on the capital murder charge. She was released Tuesday. Patricia Redman's lawyers argued that there was not enough evidence to hold her on the capital murder charge. She was released Tuesday.
OLIVE BRANCH, MS -

(WMC-TV) - At preliminary criminal court hearings, many suspects waive their right to have a judge determine if there is probable cause to send the case to a grand jury. On Tuesday in Olive Branch, a stepmother charged with murdering her 2-year-old stepson, not only had the hearing, but had the charge dismissed.

It was a hearing that played out more like a trial, and ended with a rare outcome, according to Olive Branch Police Chief Don Gammage.

Patricia Redman's lawyers argued that there was not enough evidence to hold her on the capital murder charge.

Redman had just married the child's biological father before the toddler died at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital at the end of January. Due to suspicious injuries, the child's death was ruled a homicide.

A month-long investigation came to a close with Redman's arrest last week. She was in court for the judge to determine if there was probable cause to hold her.

Judge James McGarrh told the courtroom that he felt sure there was probable cause when he signed the arrest warrant, but had his doubts after listening to both sides.

Redman is now free. That decision to free her leaves many wondering who, if anyone, will be held responsible for the child's death? Redman's attorneys believe the 2-year-old death was a tragedy, not a murder.

"We prepare for it as if it is life or death, because it is life or death," said one of Redman's defense attorneys, John Keith Perry.

She could have faced the death penalty, until a judge said there was no probable cause to hold her.

Investigators do not always reveal their findings at preliminary hearings, but the medical examiner ruled the 2-year-old's death as a homicide from blunt force trauma. Redman's attorneys claim she was caring for a sick child.

"They did exactly what a lot of moms do, a lot of dads do. Give them a bath, clean them up, and that's when this happened," added defense attorney Martin Zummach.

The Olive Branch Police Department and district attorney's office will now present the case to a grand jury, where Redman could be indicted on capital murder or any other charge. It is a much trickier situation for her lawyers to defend.

"I do not have the ability to go in and cross-examine any of the elements," said Perry.

In court Tuesday, the detective testified that she looked at Redman and the child's father as suspects, but after taking findings to the district attorney's office, only Redman was charged. A grand jury never heard the case.

An assistant district attorney said that in retrospect, the case should have been presented to the grand jury. Olive Branch Police Chief Don Gammage hopes to get it in front of a grand jury next month.

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