She is 81 years old, stands only five foot tall, and has had a clean record all her life -- until now. Mary Musselman is in jail, and could be there for a while.
On Tuesday, a judge in Highlands County decided that Musselman will have to stay behind bars until she gets a complete evaluation by a psychiatrist and psychologist. That could take a month or more.
Her crime, prosecutors say, is ignoring the law and the warnings of Fish and Wildlife officers by repeatedly feeding bears at her home.
Last month, she was court ordered not to feed any wildlife. Then, When Fish and Wildlife officers checked up on her, they found out she had.
"She is mentally ill, judge," her attorney Bill Fletcher said.
Fletcher argued that Musselman should get out of jail and be allowed to live at a place in town that would make it harder for her to feed the bears.
He laid out another scenario as well: what about her living with her twin brother in Illinois?
The judge said no to both. Instead, he decided that she would have to see her mental evaluation before he considered the possibility of Musselman getting out.
She won't get any special treatment in jail because of her diminutive size or advanced age. Her attorney says she will be in the general population, and only be able to receive visitors two hours a week.
However, her career as a gym teacher is paying off in an unusual way: Fletcher says several of her former students are incarcerated with her, and they are making sure she is okay.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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