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Mom Accused of Letting Kids Die in Sweltering Car Takes Stand

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FOX NEWS: A South Carolina woman accused of letting her children die in a sweltering car said she put the tots in the trunk and pressed a pillow against their faces to stop them from crying so she could work nearby, a witness testified Friday.

car parked at street

"She said she put a pillow over the little boy's face and then over the little girl," testified Rebecca Stone, who shared a cell at the Berkleley County Jail with Sametta Heyward after Heyward's arrest in 2007.

Heyward, 30, is charged with homicide by child abuse and illegal conduct toward a child in the deaths of her 4-year-old son and her daughter, who was nearly 2.

Authorities allege that after the deaths, Heyward took the children back to her apartment, washed and dressed them and stuffed them in plastic bags under a sink.

Heyward assured Circuit Judge R. Markley Dennis who is presiding over her bench trial that she wants to tell her side in a story that attracted national headlines. Heyward was to testify later Friday.

Stone was among the last of 23 prosecution witnesses.

She testified Heyward told her she left the children in the car because her babysitter had canceled and she had no one else to watch them. The car was parked outside a home for the disabled where Heyward worked.

Stone, in jail on a bad check charge, said Heyward told her she checked on her children from time to time. According to earlier trial testimony, temperatures in the car that July day reached nearly 130 degrees.

Stone said Heyward told her she was upset that the children were crying.

"She said she went back out and put the children in the trunk with a pillow and bedding," Stone testified, adding Heyward later returned and covered their faces with the pillow.

She said the defendant told her she did not kill them but put the pillows in their faces "just long enough to keep them from crying."

Stone also testified Heyward said she was angry with her aunt that day and could not ask her to baby sit.

During the few weeks they shared a cell, Stone said Heyward always spoke highly of her older son, now 15, but not of her younger children.

"She said they had ruined her life," Stone said. "They kept her from going to school."

The prosecution called several other witnesses who at the time worked for the Charleston County disabilities board where Heyward worked.

One of them, Mary Dilligard, who coordinated operation of the group homes, said she was only three miles away and could have covered Heyward's shift if she had been called.

Another witness testified Heyward had 23 days of vacation and sick time available to her.


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