CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- There was a pre-trial hearing for the man accused of killing a girl in Orange Park in 2009, but his absence at the hearing raised the ire of one person.
Diena Thompson, the mother of Somer Thompson, believes Jared Harrell should have been at the hearing in Clay County court this morning, rather than just his attorney.
Somer, 7-years old when she was walking home from school in October 2009, didn't make it home one day. After a massive search effort, her body was found days later in a landfill in Georgia.
Harrell, who formerly lived along the route Somer walked, was arrested in Mississippi on child pornography charges in early 2010.
He was extradited to Clay County to face charges in the Somer Thompson case. He faces 58 charges in all, many of which are unrelated to the Somer case.
Diena Thompson has been in court for every pre-trial procedural hearing, though Harrell hasn't been there since April.
She said she doesn't fully understand the court system, but feels that Harrell should "stand up there like a man and face it like a man."
She also wants to make sure Harrell sees plenty of her when he does appear in court.
"He will have nothing but my beautiful face to look at for the rest of the time that he's in the Clay County court system," she said.
Harrell's next hearing is set for March 1.
He has the right to appear, but is not required to do so as long as he is represented by an attorney. Thompson would like to see that changed.
"We're going to make a difference in this and we're going to change how this works," she said.
First Coast News