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Woman misses court date by 18 years

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — A Rowan County woman sat in the county jail overnight after she told a judge Wednesday she did not have $60 to clear up an 18-year-old charge.
First, she raised the judge’s ire with her fashion choice for the court date.
Tonya Evette Bronson, 45, was charged in 1993 by the Salisbury Police Department with misdemeanor public consumption. Bronson was in Rowan County District Court for a hearing on the matter Wednesday.
When she walked up to the front of the courtroom, District Court Judge Charlie Brown asked Bronson about the T-shirt she was wearing. It had a picture of the late reggae star Bob Marley smoking marijuana.
Brown asked Bronson if she was actually wearing a shirt in court that glorified illegal drug use. A bailiff pulled Bronson aside and instructed her to turn her shirt inside out.
When she returned to the courtroom, Brown asked Bronson if she was prepared to pay the court costs.
Bronson said she could not pay it. When the judge told her she would be arrested if she did not pay, Bronson’s brother, Robert Bronson — who was in court on a charge of felony cocaine possession — held up some money.
“I had the $60, I’m sorry. All right, all right, I got $60 right here,” Tonya Bronson said.
Brown held Bronson in contempt of court for 24 hours for her failure to pay the court costs.
She created a disruption in the court by interrupting the proceedings and disrespected the court by wearing the T-shirt, the judge said in a contempt order.
This is not the first time Brown has found Bronson in contempt. In 2008, Bronson was in court on a misdemeanor larceny charge, for which she was sentenced to 120 days. Brown held her in contempt for 30 days.
Bronson has been previously convicted of drug possession, larceny and shoplifting, all misdemeanors, and felony drug possession.
Bob Marley died 30 years ago on May 11.
Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

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