- Story Highlights
- Authorities said Lillian Stone intentionally left her son in a hot car on Halloween.
- Stone left the child in the car for more than seven hours, police said.
- She was granted bond in her preliminary hearing.
A mom accused of leaving her child to die in a hot car on Halloween is out on bond and awaiting another court date.
Authorities say Lillian Stone intentionally left 3-year-old son Melvin Smith strapped in his car seat outside their south Fulton County home for more than seven hours on Oct. 31, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. The child died two days later.
In an unusual step, Stone was charged with malice murder in his death. Last month, Stone was granted $75,000 bond with the condition she cannot have any contact with children under the age of 15, including her 5-year-old son.
In a Nov. 15 preliminary hearing, Fulton County Detective Jamie Gore testified that surveillance video contradicted Stone’s initial statements given to police.
Stone had told police she dropped her other son and a nephew off at school before 8 a.m. and decided not to take Melvin to daycare because “she had some free time that day and wanted to spend some time with him,” Gore said.
Stone said she and Melvin returned home and went to bed. Then, around noon, she said she took her son to the store but returned home after he fell asleep. But Gore testified security cameras never showed Stone leaving the home a second time.
Video instead showed Stone getting out of her car 8:10 a.m. without Melvin and going inside the home, where she stayed until 3:20 p.m., Gore said.
Gore testified the security footage showed the preschooler was “moving around in the car, trying to take the seat belt off.” He was eventually found by a concerned citizen, Fulton County police said.
Video from inside the house showed Lillian Stone moving from room to room throughout the day, though Melvin is never seen, Gore testified.
Gore said exposure to heat caused Melvin’s death. Even though the high temperature topped out at 72 degrees that day, studies have shown that the temperature inside a car can soar more than 40 degrees higher in less than an hour.
Stone’s attorney declined to comment on the case Wednesday.
Melvin Smith was the 43rd child in the U.S. and the fourth in Georgia to die this year after being left inside a vehicle, according to the advocacy group KidsAndCars.org. The last Georgia parent to be charged with malice murder in connection with the death of a child in a hot car was Justin Ross Harris.
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