At about 5 a.m. on Dec. 6, David Sheppard was preparing to step foot outside of prison for the first time in nearly 30 years after Gov. Tom Wolf commuted his life sentence for his role as a lookout in a 1992 robbery in which an accomplice murdered a man.
For years, Sheppard, 54, had little hope the commutation would be a success, and when it was time for Sheppard to be released, his nightmare worsened.
Roughly 12 hours later, at the behest from outgoing Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland, a warrant for Sheppard’s arrest was sent to the prison, alleging he failed to appear to court regarding a 1992 theft case involving a pair of jeans.
“This case became a national story almost immediately; a man commuted by the governor being re-arrested for failing to appear to court over a pair of ‘stolen’ jeans out of ‘principal’ isn’t just wrong, but deeply disturbing,” Christopher Halbach told us. “It speaks volumes.”
Sheppard was housed at SCI Phoenix – deemed one of the toughest, meanest maximum-security hellholes ever built – behind electrified barbed wire fences and housing some of the Pennsylvania’s most infamous inmates.
However, the revolt of criminal justice reform may be the force that’ll set David Shepherd free Monday morning.
“I am confident that Judge Scanlon will abide by and make the correct ruling according to the laws of the Commonwealth,” criminal defense attorney and former Delaware County Assistant District Attorney James H. Bonner told yc.news. “We must continue to implore Governor Wolf and the legislature to make the changes necessary to the laws to combat social injustices that still exist.”
“This is the sort of vindictiveness the country is moving away from”
The ruckus prompted Kim Kardashian to personally chime in, blasting Delaware County on social media – and sources say the superstar plans to make her way to Delco rather soon.
“David Sheppard should have been reunited with his family, but he remains in custody and must appear in court on Monday in Delaware County,” Kim Kardashian said Saturday night. “It’s imperative that the judge corrects this wrong on Monday so he can regain the freedom he so rightfully deserves.”
Incoming Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer chimed in, noting he’s ready to clean up the mess.
“Couldn’t agree more,” Stollsteimer told Kardashian in a Tweet. “Which is why I’m proud to the the candidate who defeated DA Copeland on November 5th and will right this wrong when I take office on January 6, 2020.”
According to a source close to the situation, Kardashian is contemplating a potential appearance on Monday.
“Kim is going after Katayoun full-throttle after getting wind that she decided to hold this man in prison after a 30-year stint over a pair of jeans,” the source noted. “Kim has been following this case extremely carefully after shooting the segment on David Shepherd.”
“When she heard the news regarding the new arrest, she was in complete shock. To Kim, that was lower than low – and now she’s vowed to get even.”
The source noted the Kardashian star will be updating the public about the case as it unravels on social media.
“Kim is prepared to take action,” the source continued. “I wouldn’t underestimate her.”
After news of the arrest sparked a nationwide backlash, Copeland – the outgoing Republican-appointed district attorney – rushed to defend her decision.
“The issue here is not about a shoplifting charge, it is the complete failure of the criminal justice system to give victims and their families a voice,” Copeland said in a statement to The Delaware County Daily Times. “Convicted felons are being empowered and extended leniency at the direct expense of victims and their families.”
“There is NO WAY this case will go forward,” prominent Philadelphia defense attorney A. Charles Peruto told us. “This is the sort of vindictiveness the country is moving away from.”
Copeland, a Republican appointed last year, was voted out of office earlier this month – losing the election to Jack Stollsteimer, the first Democrat ever elect ed district attorney in Delaware County’s history.
“Somebody’s going to have to convince me that it is in the interest of justice that we are prosecuting this man for a 27-year-old retail theft,” Stollsteimer told The Washington Post.
“There has to be a reason,” Stollsteimer continued in a statement to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “It can’t just be that we’re being vindictive.”
Just last week, Stollsteimer offed an entire arm of the office as he prepares to take control of the drama-filled office.
“I’m the new district attorney, elected to make some changes in the office, and we’re going through that process now,” Stollsteimer told The Delaware County Daily Times. “Change may be a little bit unsettling for some people, but we’re making sure we have the best team ready to start in January when I get sworn in.”