FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (TCD) -- A 29-year-old man who allegedly beat a woman’s 3-year-old son to death was given a second mistrial after one of the prosecutors complained about the judge in a group text that included the judge.
According to the probable cause affidavit, on Feb. 9, 2015, 3-year-old Khyese Coach was transported to the Coral Springs Medical Center emergency room even though he had been declared dead prior to arrival. Medical personnel reportedly noted the boy had bruising all over his body, blood in his diaper, blunt force trauma to the head, and other injuries.
Coach’s mother, Chantel Haye, told Broward County Sheriff’s Office detectives she left her little boy in Corey Gordon’s care while she went to work. When she called Gordon to check on her son, Gordon said he was upset because "the child defecated on his sister’s white couch."
Gordon reportedly drove Coach to Haye’s office, and she reportedly noticed Gordon had been crying. Haye touched her child and saw he was "cold to the touch, unresponsive, and stiff."
Gordon reportedly said he "slapped" and "boxed" Coach. He allegedly told Haye, "I’m going to jail," and said he would drive the car into a canal "in a show of remorse."
He fled and remained at large until he was apprehended and booked into the Broward County Jail.
Court records show that on Aug. 15, Broward County Judge Peter Holden also granted a mistrial in Gordon’s case out of "manifest necessity." On Aug. 17, Gordon’s defense attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case entirely.
During the trial, Holden did not allow testimony from a 911 call because the caller "was not identified, was not under the stress of any incident, there was no ongoing emergency, and the statement was hearsay, or hearsay upon hearsay."
Holden put the court in recess for a lunch break, and during that time, one of the Broward County prosecutors, Assistant State Attorney Katya Palmiotto, allegedly sent a text message in a group chat that said, "Holden just sustained their objection and wouldn’t let us put the 911 call in as hearsay."
The prosecutors and defense attorneys were reportedly in the courtroom during the text conversation, and Palmiotto sent it and ran out. She could reportedly be heard saying, "I f---ked up bad."
The defense reportedly "presumed the odd and frantic behavior Palmiotto was exhibiting was due to the next witness or perhaps the State had perceived the Defense’s next strategy move but had not properly prepared for it."
Following another recess in the afternoon, Holden showed his phone to the attorneys and was "visibly upset and appeared angry."
The defense requested a mistrial, and it was granted. The defense also submitted a motion to disqualify Holden from his position as judge in Broward County because of prosecutorial misconduct.