Women charged in West Memphis daycare death pleas

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC) - Three of the four women accused of leaving a 5-year-old boy in a daycare van in West Memphis entered 'not guilty' pleas in court on Monday.

Felicia Phillips, Wanda Taylor, Kendra Washington, and Pamela Robinson are all charged with manslaughter in the death of Christopher Gardner Jr.

Robinson, the fourth defendant, was not in court because her attorney had jury duty.

Ashley Smith, mother of Christopher Gardner Jr., was also in court with her attorneys, Leslie Ballin and Randy Fishman.

"Obviously, Ms. Smith's heart remains broken, and she's here to see justice and follow the process," Fishman said.

A judge set a jury trial date for Nov. 6-9. The family hopes the trial can make waves as far as policy and caution in daycares across the country.

"If this case can help set a bar where that kind of thing doesn't happen, or it can be dramatically reduced, that's the best outcome," Fishman said.

Investigators said the women didn't follow protocol and overlooked Gardner three separate times before he died of hyperthermia in the daycare van that registered at 141 degrees at the time of his death.

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