Pezold enters unorthodox plea

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 | 5:16 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — A man accused with his brother of trying to run down some black shoppers — including four children — in a Walmart parking lot told a judge Tuesday that he's guilty and that the judicial process is "a waste of time."

James Pezold, 25, is charged with attempted assault and four counts of first-degree assault in connection with the Oct. 29 incident at the Walmart at 3001 W. Broadway. He's also charged with tampering with a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, according to

Pezold and his brother Michael Pezold, both of O'Fallon, went to Walmart to steal cans of compressed air to inhale, according to a probable cause statement. In the statement, police said that Michael Pezold verbally assaulted several people leaving Walmart and used racial slurs. The brothers then circled the parking lot in their  truck, according to previous Missourian reporting.

James Pezold then drove his truck onto the sidewalk outside the store toward some  families walking and knocked down a 2-year-old, leaving the child with minor injuries. Other people were missed "by inches," according to the statement.

During a scheduled preliminary hearing in the 13th Circuit of Boone County, Public Defender Paul Hood asked permission for his client to address the court.

Addressing Judge Deborah Daniels, James Pezold said: "You're wasting your time. I'm guilty; you already know I did it."

"It's not a question of what you did, it's a question of what you're legally responsible for," Daniels replied. She said she interpreted James Pezold's confession as a guilty plea.

But Hood asked for a continuance of the hearing pending a psychiatric evaluation of his client.

Daniels granted the continuance. James Pezold's preliminary hearing is now scheduled for Jan. 20. The preliminary hearing for Michael Pezold is scheduled for Jan. 4.

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