LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - A former Lee County home day care owner was indicted on ten counts of reckless conduct today.
Following the death of a 4-month old boy at the day care, the Grand Jury decided to file only misdemeanor charges, declining the District Attorney's plea for felony charges.
In February four month old Jace Hester was found not breathing at her Lee County home day care, and died later that day. The GBI autopsy ruled his death was an unexplained sudden infant death, and Investigators found no criminal negligence. But the crime scene photos that showed the condition of the room where the baby was found so shocked District Attorney Cecilia Cooper, she asked the Grand Jury to indict Fuller on ten counts of felony child cruelty, one for each child at her home the day of the death. Cooper said today the Grand Jury instead indicted on misdemeanor charges of reckless conduct.
Fuller's attorney said they are relieved, but still maintain that Fuller did nothing wrong.
Phil Cannon said "It's my understanding the reckless conduct stems from the way the house was kept while the children were there. And there is a huge discrepancy in when the house became in disarray."
In July the state agency that licenses day care centers revoked Fuller's registration, for 16 major rule violations at her home, reporting Investigators found dog feces under the crib where Hester died, the carpet was dirty and urine stained, and mold was observed on the ceiling and doorway. Cannon blames the problems on the Investigators.
Cannon said "After the officers arrived, they locked several animals in the bedroom while they were conducting their investigation."
Cannon says Fuller was devastated by the baby's death, but has already started caring for at least two children at her home again, below the number necessary to require state licensing.
Barbara Ann Fuller turned herself in to Lee County authorities late Monday, and was released without a bond having to be posted.