Tenn. mom gets 16 years in hot car deaths of children

The woman whose children died in a hot car in August 2012 in Smyrna pleaded guilty to lesser charges Wednesday morning in Rutherford County court.

Samantha Harper was charged with two counts of aggravated child neglect and two counts of felony child murder. She pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted aggravated child neglect.

After Judge Keith Siskin expressed his sorrow at the facts of the case, Harper cried as Siskin read her rights after she entered the plea.

Harper was sentenced to 16 years in jail. She will serve eight years upfront before being released on supervised probation from the remainder of the sentence. Assistant District Attorney Laural Hemenway set special conditions restricting Harper's contact with any children, anyone with children and the father of the deceased children.

Harper was indicted in February 2013 on two counts of felony murder and two counts of aggravated child neglect for the Aug. 2, 2012, deaths of her two toddlers, 2-year-old Savannah Marise and 3-year-old Daniel Marise, outside her Old Nashville Highway residence.

The children were found dead inside in the car after Harper awoke from a three-hour nap.

Harper, who bonded out of jail in September 2013, was arrested and her residence condemned by Smyrna codes officials the same day of her children's death.

The house was condemned after the incident for being in what police described then as a "deplorable" state, according to Smyrna Codes officials.


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