Mother of hot-car death victim fights charges against father

AP News
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Posted: Aug 10, 2016 12:06 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The mother of an 8-month-old girl who died in her boyfriend's hot car May 19 in northern Mississippi is asking prosecutors to dismiss charges against the father.

Shanice Caradine filed an affidavit Tuesday in Grenada County Circuit Court making the request.

"I do not believe Joshua Blunt should be charged with any crime in relation to the death of our daughter, Shania Caradine," the affidavit states. "I honestly believe that it was a tragic accident. Anyone can make a mistake."

Grenada's city prosecutor had pledged to reduce Blunt's charge to a misdemeanor after he was initially arrested on a second-degree murder charge, but District Attorney Doug Evans obtained a manslaughter indictment from a grand jury. The felony charge is punishable by two to 20 years in prison.

"Even if she did sign that affidavit, it doesn't affect the facts of the case at all," Evans said, adding it wouldn't affect the prosecution.

The case is set for trial Aug. 18, but Evans said it's likely to be delayed by a judge's scheduling conflict.

Blunt's lawyer, Carlos Moore, distributed Caradine's statement. He has said Blunt, currently free on bail, does not plan to accept a plea bargain.

Shania Rihanna Caradine, died eight days after another young child died in a hot car in another Mississippi county. The mother in the other case was not arrested. Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest said he plans to present that other case to a grand jury shortly.

Moore has questioned the difference in how the cases are being handled. His client is black and not wealthy, Moore said. The family in the other case is white, and the child had attended a day care center in a relatively affluent suburb of Jackson.

Blunt went to work at a Grenada restaurant on the morning of May 19, then said he took a break to pick up Shanice Caradine and their baby. Blunt took his girlfriend to her job at a fast-food restaurant and was supposed to drop off the baby at his girlfriend's mother's house. Moore said Blunt "intended to take the child to the grandmother's house, but somehow he forgot."

Blunt went back to work for about four hours, and when he and a colleague went to his car, the colleague discovered the unresponsive baby in the back seat, Moore said. They took Shania inside the restaurant and put cool towels on her to await an ambulance that took her to the University of Mississippi Medical Center Grenada. Grenada County Deputy Coroner Jo Morman said physicians at the hospital tried unsuccessfully for hours to revive the baby.

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