published Monday, April 4th, 2011

Chattanooga: Mother pleads guilty to child endangerment in two deaths

by Chris Carroll

A 34-year-old mother pleaded guilty this afternoon to two counts of child endangerment in connection with the deaths of her two children in a 2008 car crash.

Heather Markum admitted to the lesser charges when prosecutors realized it would be difficult to sway a jury toward a reckless homicide conviction.

Prosecutors revealed several holes in their case today, including a failure to examine the crash’s other car, which was speeding.

Police said Markum’s car was struck on the passenger side by another car when she failed to yield the right of way on a lefthand turn from Bailey Avenue onto South Willow Street in the Highland Park area. Markum’s 4-month-old son Colin died at the scene and her 14-year-old daughter died during surgery.

Her 6-year-old daughter survived.

Markum faces up to 11 months and 29 days of incarceration, probation, or a combination of both on each charge of child endangerment.

Judge Barry Steelman will conduct her sentencing hearing on June 6.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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