The court clerk of Highlands County says it’s possible that 81-year-old Mary Musselman, the woman accused of feeding bears and threatening several law enforcement officers, will remain in jail until a hearing on March 3rd.
Authorities say she fed bears outside of her home, despite repeated requests to stop.
Tonight, friends are desperate for the justice system to find an alternative to incarceration.
A group of the former middle school teacher’s physical education students five of her former physical education students prayed outside of her home on Friday night.
“She taught us girls how to walk, talk, do our nails, stand up straight, and be respectful,” said former student Karrol Tedder.
“Dear Lord, we are just here for Mr. and Mrs. Musselman. We just pray that you will give the justice system guidance,” said another former student, Karen Andrews.
Because she was already on probation for allegedly feeding bears, when she was arrested this time, the court says she is not eligible for bond.
Plus, authorities say she resisted arrest and threatened to kill the officers.
Close family friends say she is suffering from dementia.
“I just can’t imagine her intentionally breaking the law,” said Andrews.
The FWC reiterated feeding bears can make them aggressive towards people, and also incapable finding food on their own.
They even say one of the bears Musselman fed had to be put down.
Despite repeated requests and educational efforts by the FWC over three months, they say Musselman’s actions could have led to danger.
“We sympathize with her and her husband. This is a situation that deteriorated through time. It’s an unfortunate outcome,” said FWC spokesman Gary Morse.
We did speak to a family friend who told us that he supports what authorities are doing.
But the FWC’s sympathy didn’t help Musselman’s former students, who visited the outside of the jail, even knowing visiting hours for inmates were over.
“I’m sure she’s probably scared,” said Tedder. “I would be, and I’m not 81. I would be totally scared. I hope they have her somewhere where she’s safe.”
The court says a special bond hearing can’t be held until she hires a lawyer, which so far has not happened. “
It will be a long weekend for these former students, but maybe longer for Musselman.
“I’m sure she’s confused and scared and sad and wondering what the heck is going on,” said Andrews.