Parents who left babies in hot auto get probation

Twins found confined in locked car in July

February 07, 2002|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A Prince Frederick man and woman who left their infant twin daughters in a locked car in the Howard County Circuit Court parking lot last summer while they conducted business in the air-conditioned building were placed on probation yesterday and ordered to perform 32 hours of community service.

Darrell J. Holliday, 37, and Kimberly A. Walton, 38, each pleaded guilty in Howard County District Court to two counts of confining an unattended child, a charge that carries a maximum 30-day jail term.

In return for their pleas, prosecutors agreed to drop the more serious charges of reckless endangerment.

According to prosecutors, Holliday and Walton left the girls, who were then nearly 10 months old, in their car seats in the back seat of a blue Chevrolet Celebrity on July 23 while they went inside the courthouse where Holliday was waiting for his criminal case to be called.

The babies were discovered by Howard County police officers, who managed to push a window that had been cracked open down far enough to open the doors, according to court papers.

The babies were sweating "profusely" and crying and their cheeks were flushed, said prosecutor Susan Weinstein, who asked Judge Neil Edward Axel to sentence the two parents to jail time. The temperature in the car after the girls were removed was measured at 89.4 degrees, she said.

"If the police officers hadn't gotten there when they did, we're not sure what would have happened to these kids," Weinstein said.

Lawyers representing Holliday and Walton said their clients were remorseful and that "fortunately," the girls are fine.

Walton "thinks about it daily - what could have happened to these children," said his attorney, Susan Davis.

The twins are living with the couple in Prince Frederick.

"There's no justification for what I did," Walton said before sentencing.

Axel noted that the girls "appear to be well cared for" otherwise and that nothing suggests that Holliday and Walton intended to hurt the twins. Axel gave each a 30-day suspended sentence and one year of probation.

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