Man accused of leaving fiance, with disability, to drown appears in court

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KEYTESVILLE - James Pleasant, who prosecutors say left his fiance to die in flood waters, appeared in court Tuesday.

Chariton County prosecutors said on May 31 while driving with his fiance, Alicia Meyer, Pleasant moved a flood barrier on Route M in Chariton County. They said he drove through 14 inch flood waters.

Then, when the water began to sink the car, Pleasant escaped through the trunk leaving Alicia, who was paraplegic, to die, according to court documents. Meyer's body was found in the car about 50 to 70 yards from the road.

"It was still in very deep water at the time, and the Highway Patrol's Dive Team did make the recovery," Sergeant Eric Brown of the MSHP said.

Pleasant was charged with involuntary manslaughter and booked into the Chariton County Jail on a $50,000 cash only bond.

Pleasant has since pleaded not guilty. 

Tuesday, Meyer's family sat in the court room as Pleasant was brought in with handcuffs around his wrists and a chain around his waist. 

"I was just thinking 'why would he do this'", said Meyer's niece Maelynn Brengarth. "'Why would he drive through that water?'"

Brengarth said Meyer and Pleasant had been in a relationship for months before she died. She said her family did not notice any problems in the relationship.

"They recently came to my graduation party," she said. "They seemed like a happy couple. She was happy and that's all that mattered to us."

Pleasant's public defender briefly spoke with the judge. They agreed to reset Pleasant's hearing for August 27.