ST. LOUIS – A pre-trial hearing for an infamous 2021 murder carried stakes not just for the defendant, but for embattled St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner as well.

Gardner was supposed to appear in court on Monday morning to explain why she shouldn’t be held in contempt after a prosecutor in her office no-showed a hearing in the trial of Jonathon Jones.

Jones is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action for the Sept. 6, 2021, shooting death of Brandon Scott near the Gateway Arch.

Jones and his public defender were in court on April 17, and sought a dismissal when the circuit attorney’s office no-showed, citing the right to a speedy trial. However, Judge Scott Millikan delayed rescheduled the hearing for April 24, and requested Gardner appear in his court.

Last Friday, Gardner blamed the assistant circuit attorney assigned to the case, Alex Polta, saying he was going on vacation and failed to notify her office that the trial was expected to start on April 17. Gardner argued that since she was not prosecuting the case herself, she should not be held in contempt.

On the morning of April 24, Gardner again no-showed the hearing.

Ultimately, Judge Milliken did not hold Gardner nor Polta in contempt of court, saying it’s a very high bar to clear.

The judge criticized the circuit attorney’s office, saying there’s no excuse for missing a trial date, which is what got us here in the first place. Milliken said failing to tell the defense council there was a problem and they might not show.

Meanwhile, Jones’ attorney again requested a dismissal of the case, which the judge denied. The attorney then asked for a bond reduction. Judge Milliken denied that request, too, and scheduled the trial to begin on Monday, June 5.

Brandon Scott’s family was in court, ready for the trial to start. They left the court upset that, in their eyes, justice was delayed once again.

Gardner’s office has been has faced criticism for years for organizational dysfunction and under-staffing. At present, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is trying to have her removed from office.