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Child's death at daycare leads to acquittal

Jazmin was left behind in a van in an unshaded parking lot at Marlo’s Magnificent Early Learning Center on June 20, 2011, after she and other children returned from a field trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Following a headcount about an hour later, Jazmin was f
Family photo

Friday afternoon, a jury found a daycare owner and her daughter not guilty of felony murder charges but did convict the two on other charges in the death of a 2-year-old girl left in their care.

After nearly three hours outside in hot summer temperatures after a trip to Chuck E. Cheese, Green was retrieved and rushed to the hospital. She did not survive. It had been reported that Marlo Fallings, 44, and her daughter Quantabia Hopkins, 26, were facing multiple charges in the death of Jazmin Green, who died after being left outside a Jonesboro, Georgia daycare while strapped to a car seat on June 20, 2011.

State Representative Sandra Scott has been working closely with Jazmin's parents for the past three years, as this death occurred in Scott’s own district- and in 2012, Scott introduced the Jazmin Green Act- which would require vans to have an alarm reminding the driver to check for kids left inside. Although the measure didn’t pass, Scott stated, “Friday's verdict makes me all the more determined to try again.” Scott is determined to see that the bill goes through, and Scott announced that she would keep introducing the bill until it in fact does become law, and said “because I think that any daycare provider should want to pay $300 [dollars] to help ensure safety for all [children].” So far three daycare centers in Scott’s county, Clayton County, have taken Scott’s plans to heart and have installed alarms since the accident.

After less than 30 minutes of closing arguments, Clayton County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney, Deah Warren, the jury found Fallings and Hopkins not guilty of felony murder charges after deliberating for more than 3 hours. A jury found Fallings guilty of reckless conduct, and Hopkins guilty of involuntary manslaughter, reckless conduct, and contributing to the deprivation of a minor but found not guilty of cruelty to children.

On that day, when the van returned to Marlo's Magnificent Early Learning Center in Jonesboro, Georgia Jazmin's brother, Savion, was taken off the van, but Jazmin was left behind. It would be another three hours later when Jazmin’s body would be discovered, on that hot summer day of over 90 degrees in June.

Although it would be Fallings who would falsely sign documents stating she was one of the two adults in the van, it would later be proven that her daughter, Quantabia had actually taken a 16-year-old volunteer along who investigators say gave the final okay that the van was empty.

The juvenile volunteer received two-years probation, but Fallings and her daughter, Quantabia, were charged with murder. One of the biggest signs everyone on that case will remember is that only three months before Jazmin's death, the daycare had been written up by state regulators for not keeping proper track of kids on previous field trips.

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