Trial date set for Cleveland mother in heat deaths

Trial date set for Cleveland mother in heat deaths

November 21st, 2012 by Kate Harrison Belz in News

Tasha Bates, who is charged in the deaths of her 3- and 5-year-old sons last year, leaves court in Bradley County earlier this year. Bates will be in court again today for motions in her ongoing criminal case.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

A trial date has been set for the Cleveland, Tenn., woman accused in the summer heat deaths of her two young boys.

Tasha Bates, 26, is set to stand trial Aug. 27, 2013, on murder charges in the deaths of Leland, 3, and River, 5, who died of heat stroke June 28.

Bates was arrested two weeks later and remains incarcerated in the Bradley County Jail. She has maintained she found the boys unconscious during the 101-degree afternoon after she left them outside unattended on a Slip 'n' Slide water toy for 45 minutes.

But investigators have stated the boys died in a car outside Bates' house in rural Bradley County. Bates also has been charged with several methamphetamine-related offenses after investigators say they found drug-making materials at her home.

Final autopsy results showed that the boys' core body temperatures climbed to at least 109 and 103 degrees before they died, according to measurements taken after they were rushed to the hospital.

Linda Bates, the boys' grandmother and mother of Tasha Bates' ex-husband, has said even though the trial date is more than nine months away, having it set will help her get through this year.

"I'm just hoping for justice for the boys, but fairness for Tasha," she said.

Tasha Bates' family has continued to argue that the incident was a "horrible accident" and that she should not be facing murder charges.

"She has been through an absolutely horrible ordeal, and that's carried over into jail," said Tasha Bates' grandmother Faye Ghorley. "She needs a lot of prayer."

Contact staff writer Kate Harrison at kharrison@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6673.