A Savannah-area mother accused in the beating death of her 20-month-old son whose remains were discovered in a landfill late last year was denied bond Thursday morning.
After Leilani Simon, 22, reported her son Quinton missing on Oct. 5, the case made national headlines as state and federal authorities searched extensively for the toddler. Officials eventually zeroed in on the landfill, where they sifted through 1.2 million pounds of trash to find his remains Nov. 18, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.
Leilani Simon was arrested three days later and has been behind bars ever since. She faces one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, one count of concealing the death of another, false report of a crime, and 14 counts of making false statements.
Simon wore a floral top during her first appearance in a Chatham County courtroom since her November arrest. During the bond hearing, her attorneys argued she was under a Division of Family and Children Services case plan, which incentivizes her to stay in the area. They also said she wasn’t a flight risk because she lives in the county and has stayed there during the investigation.
Chatham County Superior Court Judge Tammy Stokes disagreed, saying Simon could commit a felony while out on bond, or leave the area.
“With that, bond is denied,” Stokes said during court. Simon was initially denied bail last year following her arrest since only a Superior Court judge can set bond in more serious charges, such as murder.
Stokes also denied a request by Simon’s legal team to postpone the arraignment, which was held in the same courtroom Thursday. During that proceeding, Simon’s defense team waived her right to a formal reading of the indictment and she pleaded not guilty.
Simon allegedly beat her son to death with an unknown object and then discarded his body in the dumpster of a mobile home park in early October, according to her indictment. She also is accused of lying to investigators, first implying that the toddler had been abducted by an unknown intruder and then lying about her movements leading up to her reporting him missing, the indictment states.
Simon told investigators she visited a friend to pick up an oral topical pain reliever the morning of Oct. 5, according to the indictment. But the location of that meeting changed from a gas station to the mobile home park. At one point, she claimed it was another person who made the trip.
She eventually admitted that she was the one who traveled to the mobile home park and that she never picked up the oral gel or had contact with the friend, the indictment states. But she told investigators she could not remember what she did at the park.
The court also discussed motions filed by Simon’s defense team this week to quash the three murder charges and four other charges listed in the indictment.
Her attorneys filed a “special demurrer” on Monday alleging the two counts of felony murder and one count of malice murder were “imperfect in form,” according to court documents.
On Wednesday, her attorneys filed a “general demurrer” to quash counts 10, 12, 14 and 17 of the indictment, court documents state. Those charges accuse her of making false statements.
Stokes said hearings for those motions will be held at a later date.
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