Former Daycare Owner In Georgia Stands Trial For Murder After Death Of 3-Year-Old

While daycare is supposed to be a safe and happy environment for parents’ children to go to for care, the parents of a 3-year-old little boy found out otherwise. The former owner of a daycare in Georgia is standing trial for murder after the 3-year-old dies in her care.

Janna Thompson, the owner at Ms. Janna’s Daycare in Alpharetta, reportedly neglected the little boy to the point that she is now facing murder charges. The 3-year-old, Max Stephens, allegedly was strangled as he became entangled in twine in the backyard while playing on the slide. Thompson was not supervising him at the time of the incident. The incident occurred in July 2014. Unfortunately, the boy died the next day.

When the state regulators became involved, the daycare was shut down due to multiple safety violations, 11 Alive reports. First of all, the outdoor play area had many safety violations. Secondly, Thompson was only licensed to care for six children at a time and had seven on the day that Max suffocated himself in her care.

Thompson was eventually arrested on second-degree murder charges and taken into custody by the Fulton County jail. Thompson was able to be released from jail by posting bond and even tried appealing to get her daycare license back, but that was quickly denied.

The Fulton County Judge also denied a request by Thompson’s attorney, Ed Garland, to have the murder charges dropped.

Thompson said that she was unaware of any twine near the slides, therefore she didn’t believe the boy was in any danger playing in the backyard unsupervised, Online Athens reports.

The little boy’s mother and father, Heidi and Jeff Stephens, testified on Wednesday. Full of tears and sadness, Heidi explained to the court the heartbreaking news the doctors revealed about Max’s condition shortly after his hospital admission.

“The doctor there explained to me that it was very serious. And that if he survived, he would probably have significant brain damage.”

Max received multiple tests and opinions from three different doctors, but not one could shed light on the situation. They all said that Max would not recover. Max was removed from life support the next day and died shortly after.

If Thompson is convicted of second-degree murder, she will spend up to 30 years in jail, revealed Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

It has been theorized through cross-examination that Thompson left Max unsupervised for 18 minutes while she was tending to another child and also looking at her iPhone for UGA Football schedules.

Janna Thompson was allegedly on her IPhone while boy strangled himself in backyard
The court was left in tears while they listened to Thompson’s 911 call that day.

“I have a child not breathing. I need you to come. Stay with me, Max. Stay with me, baby.”

WSB-TV 2 reports that David Bochniak, an Alpharetta police detective, told the court that Thompson’s story about what she was doing and where she was that day when Max strangled himself in the backyard changed multiple times.

Thompson did admit that she wasn’t perfect, but believed that God surrounded her home with protection.

“In my heart and mind, I know I didn’t do anything intentional that day. I’ve never had an incident in my home, but that’s not because I’m an awesome day care provider. It’s because I believe God built a hedge of protection around my home.”

Garland was actively questioning the theorized timeline, which shows Max unsupervised for 18 minutes, whereas Thompson believed that she was only away from him a maximum of three minutes.

“You may not have your eye on every child all the time, but in your mind you’re thinking, ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Or 1, 2, 3.’ However many is present that day. In your mind, you’re constantly thinking, you know, who’s where and what they’re doing.”

This trial is ongoing and will continue Friday morning.

[Photo by aerogondo/AP Images]