FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – One of four suspects accused of helping a 21-year-old murder suspect escape from the Broward County courthouse last week was back in court Wednesday morning because of a conflict of interest involving her attorney.
LaQuay Stern was crying and appeared to mouth, "I love you, too" to her mother as she sat in the courtroom.
Stern, 18, of Palm Bay, is accused of helping Dayonte Resiles get away Friday morning after he ran out of the downtown Fort Lauderdale courthouse.
According to an arrest affidavit, Stern was recorded in several telephone conversations with Resiles plotting the escape.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Resiles jumped out of the jury box inside a fourth-floor courtroom and ran downstairs, eluding two unarmed bailiffs.
Israel said Resiles took off his jumpsuit, handcuffs and shackles during his escape. Surveillance video showed him running out of the courthouse wearing a white T-shirt and black shorts.
Stern and three others -- Winston Russell Jr., 22, of Sunrise, and twins Kreton Barnes and TreVon Barnes, 17, of West Palm Beach -- were arrested the next day.
Israel said the twins sat in the courtroom, where a pretrial hearing for Resiles was scheduled, while Stern and Russell waited in her silver BMW on the north side of the courthouse. He said one of the twins coughed into a cellphone as Resiles made his getaway, signaling to Stern and Russell that Resiles was on his way to the car.
Resiles is charged in the 2014 death of Jill Halliburton Su, whose body was found in a bathtub in her Davie home. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Resiles, who remains at large.
Stern's court-appointed attorney filed a motion to withdraw from the case, citing a conflict of interest, and a new attorney was assigned. However, defense attorney Jamie Benjamin said he believes his law firm will soon represent her.
"We're going to go see her (Wednesday night) and we'll advise the court as soon as that happens, if it does happen," Benjamin told a Broward County judge.
Stern's arraignment will be set within the next 30 days. Russell's arraignment is scheduled for next Tuesday.