MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A high ranking Memphis Fire Chief is trying to get out of jail before the holidays. Sandra Richards is one of three firefighters accused of forging the will of the late Tennessee State Representative Ulysses Jones.
Richards wasn't supposed to go before a judge until after the holidays, but she hired a high powered lawyer who got it squeezed onto the docket for December 13, 2011.
Jailhouse orange isn't the uniform Memphis Fire Battalion Chief Sandra Richards is used to wearing.
Her defense attorney, Leslie Ballin, noted, "She looks like a defeated woman; she looks pretty pitiful."
Prosecutors want Richards stay in jail, saying she is a flight risk. They told the judge she has already run from police.
"Law enforcement officers contacted her and allowed her to turn herself in with out being arrested and her reaction was to flee," prosecutor Byron Winsett stated.
"She is a runner," said Brenda Oates Williams, the lawyer representing the family of Ulysses Jones. "If they give her bail, she will run."
In May 2011, a civil court judge ruled Richards turned in a fake will claiming she was granted Jones' estate.
She was criminally charged with forgery and entered a not guilty plea at her Dec. 13 court appearance.
Richards appeared to be upset as she left the courtroom in handcuffs. The question is, was it for real or for the cameras?
"That's part of her M.O. She wants the public to draw sympathy for her," Williams said.
Ballin said, "I would assume she's feeling the impact of being incarcerated. She's not used to that type of treatment so she doesn't look good right now."
A full hearing on Richards' bond is planned for Thursday, Dec. 15. However, if both sides can't get their information ready, it will be postponed until after the first of the year.