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Woman seeks release from jail to have abortion

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A Fredericksburg woman is seeking temporary release from jail so she can terminate her pregnancy.

Kristy Lechelle Cokley, 28, was in Stafford County Circuit Court Thursday trying to get bond. A lower court judge had already denied the request.

Judge J. Howe Brown denied the request, but said Cokley could re-petition the court once she provides specifics about when and where the procedure would take place.

According to the evidence, Cokley and another woman were arrested in Stafford on Aug. 29 on charges of stealing $556 worth of clothes from T.J. Maxx in Stafford Marketplace.

Prosecutor George Elsasser said Cokley told a deputy that her children needed clothes for school.

At the time of the incident, Cokley was on bond for charges in Spotsylvania County, including manufacturing illegal drugs, possession of a firearm while in possession of illegal drugs and possessing a firearm as a felon.

Elsasser argued that the outstanding charges, her criminal record and the fact that she got arrested while on bond, made her an unsuitable candidate for another bond.

Defense attorney Jason Pelt initially argued that Cokley should be freed so she can take care of her three children. The children are currently in the care of Cokley’s mother, and Pelt argued that it is taking a toll on her family.

Elsasser scoffed at that argument, saying that Cokley was “well aware of her parental responsibilities when she was out committing crimes.”

When that argument didn’t work, Pelt requested the Cokley be released long enough to get an abortion, presumably about two weeks.

Elsasser objected to that request, as well.

Brown indicated that he would approve the request once he gets a letter from a doctor’s office with specifics.

After the hearing, Pelt said that as a Christian he is personally opposed to abortion. But he said he is obligated to work for his clients and said that as an attorney, he is obligated to “uphold the law, even those that I may disagree with.”

Cokley faces a preliminary hearing in Spotsylvania on the charges there Sept. 26 and another hearing on the Stafford charges Nov. 14.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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