published Friday, April 18th, 2014

2 convicted in child's death at Georgia daycare

JONESBORO, Ga. — A jury acquitted a daycare center owner and her daughter of murder charges Friday, but it convicted them of lesser charges in the death of a 2-year-old child who was left in van on a hot day.

The jury found 44-year-old Marlo Fallings guilty of reckless conduct. Her daughter, 26-year-old Quantabia Hopkins, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct.

Fallings operated Marlo's Magnificent Learning Center in Jonesboro and her daughter worked there.

Prosecutors said Jazmin Green was left in a van for about three hours after an outing to Chuck E. Cheese on June 20, 2011. Temperatures were in the 90s that day.

Clayton County prosecutor Deah Warren said she never suggested there was intent to cause the child's death, but she said the circumstances that led to it were enough to show reckless disregard.

Hopkins' attorney, Andre Johnson, told jurors that what happened was an accident. "When a tragedy happens, those things in and of themselves are not crimes," he said.

The victim's mother, April McAlister, said it was difficult sitting through the trial. "I'm looking at these people that I trusted for four years with my kids," she said.

Fallings and Hopkins are scheduled for sentencing May 2.

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