A Cheyenne prosecutor has dropped the case accusing a Wyoming elementary school music teacher of neglecting an 11-year-old-boy and giving him the chance to slip away and kill himself at school last January.
Amelia Giordano, 31, was scheduled to face one count of misdemeanor child endangering Tuesday in a criminal trial in Cheyenne Circuit Court. Punishable by up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines, the charge stemmed from the Jan. 9, 2023, suicide of Paul Pine Jr. in a bathroom outside Giordano’s music classroom at Carpenter Elementary School in southeast Laramie County.
There was a supervision plan in place to protect Pine and not let him roam the halls alone, court documents say. The boy had been making suicidal threats for months, and had announced he was going to kill himself in the bathroom outside his music class, according to a separate lawsuit complaint his parents have filed in federal court.
Not Enough Proof
Laramie County deputy district attorney Bill Edelman asked the court to dismiss the criminal case against Giordano on Friday, saying the state cannot meet its burden of proof in this case.
Edelman’s boss, District Attorney Sylvia Hackl, told Cowboy State Daily it was a difficult decision. On the one hand, the Pine family is “extraordinarily unhappy with this office” over the dismissal, she said.
On the other hand, prosecutors didn’t think they could fulfill their professional duty of bringing an adequate case before a jury because of conflicting evidence in this case, Hackl said.
“This case is so extraordinarily sad and tragic, it was just such a difficult decision to make,” said Hackl, adding she empathizes with the family’s unhappiness over the dismissal.
Hackl said prosecutors encountered conflicting testimony between school administrators and the Pine parents “regarding the scope of supervision desired for Paul Jr.”
She and Edelman hoped further investigation would reconcile the disparate narratives, she said. But it did not.
“After a great deal of discussion, investigation and thought, Bill – who was the principal trial counsel on the case – felt, and I agreed with him, we had an ethical responsibility under the rules of professional conduct to not pursue the case, when we did not feel we could present an appropriate case to a jury.”
The dismissal is “without prejudice,” meaning Edelman can bring the case against Giordano again if new or clarified evidence compels him.
Giordano could not be reached for comment.
Chandel Pine, Paul’s mother, referred Cowboy State Daily to her attorney, who did not comment by publication time.
Meanwhile, the Pine parents’ lawsuit against Giordano, Laramie County School District No. 2 and some school leaders is ongoing in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.