Order in the Court

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A Jackson County man accused of causing the death of a Cottondale teenager in August 2003 was supposed to be sentenced in court Tuesday afternoon.

Elliot Payne was behind the wheel when a truck flipped over killing a 16-year-old Cottondale High School softball player named Candi Douglas.

Payne's attorney arranged a plea deal for his client which was supposed to be finalized Tuesday, but that's not the way things worked out in court.

The families of both the victim and the defendant were in court Tuesday afternoon with the hope that they could put an end to this issue.

Dennis Glass, the defendant's uncle, said, "Closure always heals wounds. There is no way either one of the families can go on with their lives until there is closure, and we just hope that's what takes place today."

But what the family of defendant Elliot Payne did as he made his statement was a surprise to everyone in the courtroom.

"At some point that whole side of the courtroom, probably 50 to 75 people, stood up in unison."

This did not go over well with Judge William Right.

“Just a minute; what is everybody standing up for? Take that lady into custody and put her in a holding cell," he said.

The family's preplanned actions not only landed the organizer Katherine Snellgrove in handcuffs, but the remaining family members were shown the exit signs.

"Folks, this is a court of law. We don't have demonstrations like that. I want everybody on that side of the room out of this courthouse right now, leave, some kind of a joke."

Judge Wright also ordered that Payne be taken into custody, and he rescheduled his sentencing for April 12.

Snellgrove was later released, but Judge Wright charged her with criminal contempt, giving her the options of paying a $250 fine by the end of the week or spending 10 days in jail.