A St. Augustine couple accused of burning their 2-year-old son with a clothes iron pleaded not guilty in St. Johns County court Thursday, but not without some drama.
Terry and Elanna Glenn, 50 and 21, were arrested last month. Elanna Glenn is the mother of 2-year-old Jayden Wilson, and Terry Glenn is her husband and the boy's stepfather.
Both face felony charges of child neglect.
In court Thursday, Elanna had a lot more to say. Terry Glenn entered the courtroom in chains, like the other defendants. His wife quickly moved to the front of the room for a brief, emotional conversation.
"I want to plead no contest. I do not want to plead not guilty," Elanna Glenn said before the court proceedings began. "No contest is what I want to plea. I did not authorize that."
The arraignment comes after a tip from family members that the couple didn't take care of and may have inflicted wounds on the 2-year-old.
St. Augustine police said they found the boy with second-degree burn marks from an iron, with a bruise and with the boy's foot bleeding.
"I want to get custody to make sure this does not happen again. He needs love more than anything," Jayden's biological father, Josh Wilson, said last month.
He will visit the toddler in a foster home until he can get custody.
As for Jayden's mom, the following exchange happened when her official time to speak in court arrived Thursday and her court-appointed attorney had filed on her behalf.
"She came in here this morning and filed a written plea of not guilty," the court clerk said.
"I don't agree," Elanna Glenn said.
"I'm sorry?" the judge said.
"I don't agree with that," Glenn said. "I don't want to plead that. I want to plead no contest."
The judge said she wouldn't accept the change of plea without Glenn's attorney present unless she would represent herself.
"I'll represent myself," Glenn said. "I want to plead no contest. I don't think it'll benefit me to go to trial any."
"You don't want anyone to represent you?" the judge asked. "You're charged with second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison or a $10,000 fine."
"Judge, just so she's aware, the state's recommendation today is going to be 10 years Department of Corrections, followed by five years probation," a prosecutor said.
"No, thank you. I'm not doing 10 years," Glenn said.
After a public defender stepped in and whispered some advice to Glenn, she decided to change her plea to not guilty.