Day care owner who allegedly shot husband over child molestation accusations denied bond
BALTIMORE -- A Baltimore County day care owner who allegedly shot her husband last week at a Washington, D.C. hotel over child molestation accusations was denied bond Friday morning.
DC Magistrate Judge Sherry Trafford said that the reason for the confrontation is not a factor the court considers, and deemed Weems a danger to the community.
The judge also said she had "great concern" about Weem's ability to "make decisions rationally."
Shanteari Weems faces multiple charges including assault with intent to kill and possession of an unregistered firearm, among other counts.
WJZ investigator Mike Hellgren, who was present for the hearing, said she wept in court.
Four days after Shanteari Weems shot her husband James, police announced he faces multiple charges related to the alleged sexual abuse of at least three children at her daycare.
He is expected to appear in a Baltimore County court sometime next week for a preliminary hearing.
James Weems, a former police officer who retired from the Baltimore Police Department in 2005, became the subject of an investigation earlier this month after the allegations arose, according to Baltimore County Police.
Shanteari Weems was a corrections officer before opening her daycare, which, according to her attorneys, served 90 children and employed 16 caregivers.
Judge Trafford said her prior history as a corrections officer "doesn't cut in her favor," suggesting she knew the serious nature of her actions.
Activists have been drawn to the case. Supporters are using the Free Shanteari hashtag online and packed a D.C. courtroom Monday.
Her supporters were present again Friday, and erupted in outrage at Judge Trafford's decision, according to WJZ reporter Paul Gessler.
The observers broke into chants of "free Mrs. Weems," and said the judge should be ashamed of herself, accusing her of not caring about the children affected by James Weems' alleged conduct.
"Imagine if it was your grandkids," someone shouted.
"Regardless of whether you feel like what she did was justifiable, she was protecting children." activist Afeni Evans said outside the courthouse.
Her attorney, Tony Garcia, spoke one-on-one with WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren Wednesday.
"On that day . . . a child's mother actually came and told her face to face, 'This is what your husband did to my child,'" Garcia said.
The lawyer told Hellgren his client went straight to the hotel to confront her husband "hoping against hope that there would be some way that he could explain it away. . . . She didn't want to kill him, but she would not allow him to injure another child on her watch. Not on her watch."
The couple was the subject of a call about a reported shooting at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel about 8:40 p.m. last Thursday. Upon arrival, officers spoke with Shanteari Weems, who threatened to harm herself if they entered the hotel room, police said.
"If you come in, I'm going to shoot myself," she allegedly told police.
She said she and her husband had gotten into an argument that escalated when he moved toward her, charging documents state. That's when she allegedly shot her husband.
Shanteari Weems was taken into custody after a standoff at the hotel. In the execution of a search warrant police said they found a notebook in which she allegedly wrote that did not want to kill her husband but hurt him and get justice for the children.
Police also found an informal last will and testament in the hotel room, as well as two guns, one of which was in a safe.
Garcia maintains that Shanteari shot her husband in self-defense. He said Friday that James Weems "went from 0 to 1000" and that she had to defend herself.
Police testified Friday that Shanteari shot her husband in the neck and the leg.
James Weems made a court appearance Wednesday in a wheelchair. He is now at an infirmary at a D.C. jail, according to prosecutors, but his condition is unknown.
Garcia told Hellgren Friday that he is disappointed in the outcome, and that his client spent her life protecting children.
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