Arizona mom pleads guilty to leaving young sons in hot car

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 16, 2015 4:28 PM

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona woman whose tearful mugshot drew nationwide notice pleaded guilty on Monday to child abuse for leaving her two young children in a hot car while she went on a job interview, court officials said.

Shanesha Taylor, 36, entered the plea as part of a deal with prosecutors during a hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, and is due to be sentenced by a court commission on May 15, a court statement said. Details of the deal were not immediately made public.

The plea agreement was reached two weeks before the Phoenix mother was set to go on trial on child abuse charges for leaving her 6-month-old and 2-year-old sons in child-safety seats in a parked car amid temperatures that reached more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Police said the children were in obvious distress and were sweating profusely when officers arrived at the scene.

Taylor was captured with tears streaming down her face in her booking photo following the arrest, helping vault the case beyond local interest. An online fund-raising effort by a New Jersey woman attracted contributions from across the country totaling nearly $114,000.

Authorities had initially reached a deal with Taylor last July, but that unraveled when she failed to fund court-mandated trust funds for her children.

Prosecutors decided last October to revoke the deal and pursue felony child abuse charges after she missed a deadline to put $40,000 in the trust accounts.

An attorney for Taylor declined comment.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)