A Minneapolis woman who allegedly used her dying mother in a scheme to spring her boyfriend from the Hennepin County jail faces three felony charges for her efforts.
Courtney Lashell White, who turns 24 today, called Allina Hospice last month and said her dying mother had a son in jail who had not seen her for more than a month, the complaint against her says.
The "son," Martese Carl Cobbs, was given a short furlough. Instead he escaped.
"It was later learned that Cobbs' mother is alive and well, living in Chicago," the complaint said.
The ruse began when Cobbs was charged May 6 with aggravated robbery in Brooklyn Park. His bail was set at $50,000.
At a pretrial hearing May 29, his lawyer asked District Court Judge Beryl Nord to reduce his bail because his mother was at death's door. The mother was identified as Rosie White.
The complaint said Cobbs' lawyer, Sonya Verkinderen, made a motion to reduce his bail based on his representation that "Cobbs' mother was dying and had only days to live."
Nord denied the request but said she would consider a furlough if the mother's condition was verified.
In a June 2 e-mail to the judge, Verkinderen indicated she had verified that Cobbs' mother was dying and requested a furlough.
She forwarded an e-mail from a social worker, identified only as J.B., at Allina Hospice.
The e-mail said the hospice was caring for Rosie White, the mother of Cobbs. The social worker reported that death was imminent and requested that Cobbs be released as soon as possible.
Nord granted Cobbs an eight-hour furlough. He was to return at 11:15 p.m. on June 2. When he did not, authorities launched an investigation.
They learned that Rosie White is not Cobbs' mother, but Courtney White's mother. Courtney White was trying to help Cobbs, who is her boyfriend and the father of her young child, the complaint said.
Investigators found that before Cobbs' brief furlough was granted, White had called the hospice and said her mother had a son named Martese Cobbs who was in jail and had not seen his mother in more than a month.
She asked the social worker to contact Verkinderen and make arrangements to get Cobbs out of jail.
When sheriff's deputies interviewed White on June 10, she denied any knowledge of Cobbs' whereabouts. But a search of her house three days later revealed many of Cobbs' belongings.
White told officers that Cobbs was at his brother's house. The brother told officers that Cobbs was hiding in White's attic.
Officers put White's house under surveillance, and eventually White consented to another search of her house. Police found Cobbs in a hidden room in the attic.
White was arrested Friday and told police that she had helped Cobbs escape, the complaint said.
Both are in custody.
Cobbs has been charged with escape. White is charged with escape from custody for conspiring with Cobbs, aiding an offender and accomplice after the fact. She could get up to 18 years if she is convicted and sentenced to the maximum for all three charges.
Rosie White died shortly after Cobbs was furloughed.
Verkinderen did not return a call seeking comment.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747