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The Union County couple accused of handcuffing an 11-year-old boy to their front porch in the cold with a dead chicken around his neck were in court this week.
Dorian Harper went before a judge Monday, and Tuesday his partner, Wanda Sue Larson, took the journey from the jail in Wingate to the Union County courthouse in Monroe.
Larson has been sitting in jail since November. When she stepped into the courtroom with restraints around her ankles and looking unkempt it appeared she had been in there longer than three months.
Our video cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom. Wanda Sue Larson appeared before a judge to hear all the charges the state has against her. In November, she was presented with the three original charges including cruelty to animals, willful failure to discharge her duties and misdemeanor child abuse.
Those stem from the incident with the boy found on her porch with a dead chicken around his neck. After interviewing the boy, the sheriff's office filed more charges. Those six indictments were presented to Larson Tuesday morning. The recent indictments include more serious child abuse charges.
They accuse Larson of not seeking medical treatment after she burned a boy in her care on his face with an electrical wire, chaining the same boy to a railroad track, or purposely disabling the boy's pinkie finger.
Larson appeared differently then the woman seen in her booking photograph. She was soft spoken when she answered yes to many of the judge's questions about whether she understood the charges against her, the maximum penalties and whether her financial situation was the same to necessitate a court appointed attorney.
She also mentioned to the judge she was on blood pressure medication. Her overall appearance was unkempt. She was wearing jail-issued clothing that was orange and gray. Her hair wasn't combed.
Most of the time she sat expressionless with her eyes wide-opened looking at the judge or the bailiffs.
Monday, Superior Court Judge David Lee appointed lawyer Randolph Lee to defend Harper on his 11 indictments. Tuesday Judge David Lee appointed lawyer Bob Leas to defend Larson on all nine indictments.
Leas would not speak after court. And the district attorney's office said it can not comment during a pending case. But the prosecutor in court did say she just received more evidence from the Sheriff's office last week and will be going through it.
Wanda Sue Larson will go back to jail and await her next court appearance which is scheduled for April 1.
However, a trial will not begin in April. Lawyers describe that court appearance as procedural, similar to what happened this week.