The woman accused of embezzling $127,000 from the Camdenton High School lunch program will not face trial this week or any time soon after Judge Kenneth Hayden ordered the trial stricken at the defendant's request this morning in Camden County Circuit Court.
Editor's Note: This story has been edited from its original version to reflect a correction in the name of Cassie Franklin's defense attorney. Her attorney is Cody Edwards, not Jason Edwards as previously stated. We apologize for the error.
The woman accused of embezzling $127,000 from the Camdenton High School lunch program will not face trial this week or any time soon after Judge Kenneth Hayden ordered the trial stricken at the defendant’s request this morning in Camden County Circuit Court.
Cassie Franklin, 40, of Macks Creek, appeared in court with defense attorney Cody Edwards and requested a continuance of the July 18, 2016 trial date of which the State, represented by Special Prosecutor Jon Morris did not object. The new trial date is now schedule for April 3, 2017.
Franklin, who was fired from Camdenton R-III in September of 2014 after being confronted with financial reporting discrepancies and later charged with a Class B Felony for Theft of $25,000 or more by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, waived her right to a speedy trial in requesting the continuance.
On Dec. 8, 2014, four days after the charges were filed, Franklin turned herself in to police and was released the same day on a $7,000 bond. Exactly one month afterwards, Morris, Laclede County’s Prosecuting Attorney, was appointed as Special Prosecutor due to a conflict of interest for the newly-seated Camden County Prosecutor Michael Gilley.
Morris said the continuance ordered on Monday was related to “ongoing discovery issues” in the case.
Conflicts of schedule between Judge Hayden’s and the representing attorneys’ appeared to be the primary reason for the April 2017 start date. Hayden commented that this was why his circuit needs another judge, in which a defense attorney referred to the recent signing of Missouri Senate Bill 578 by Gov. Nixon who will appoint an additional judge to the 26th Judicial Circuit sometime after the law takes effect on Aug. 28, 2016.
Court documents describe a pattern of stealing beginning in 2009 and lasting through 2014. The school district noticed discrepancies ranging from $18,140 in 2012-2013 up to $30,365 in 2011-2012 when Franklin turned in receipts. New accounting practices put in place by the district in 2014 alerted staff to missing money.
Franklin would allegedly withhold cash from pre-pay envelopes and create an end-of-day report less the amount withheld for her supervisors, but would then allegedly update the computerized system with the full amount so that there would be no impact with students or their parents.
Franklin’s case was bound over to Camden County Circuit Court for arraignment in May 2015, and she waived formal arraignment in June to proceed to trial. Originally scheduled to begin Nov. 30, 2015, the trial was continued at the request of Morris with reason given as “inadequate time to prepare,” according to court records.
The prosecutor requested the continuance on Nov. 30. According to court records, the defendant did not object to the continuance upon being questioned on it and her right to a speedy trial.