Sentencing for former daycare workers set for Monday


March 3, 2019

PORTALES — The former daycare operators convicted last month of reckless child abuse are scheduled Monday for sentencing. Their defense attorney is meanwhile pursuing motions to appeal or mitigate the guilty verdicts.

Mother-daughter Mary and Sandi Taylor each face 36 years in prison on dual convictions of child abuse by reckless disregard, pertaining to the death of one girl and serious injury to another. The women left both young children in a hot car in July of 2017 in Portales.

Tye Harmon filed multiple motions in recent weeks on behalf of his clients.

The first one requests of Roosevelt County Judge Donna Mowrer that the Taylors be acquitted in spite of the jury’s verdicts, which followed a week-long trial. In that motion Harmon argued that the Taylors had neither the requisite state of mind nor the voluntary conduct required by statute for a conviction on their charges.

“In this matter, the State had to prove ... that the defendants showed a reckless disregard by voluntarily engaging in the conduct, which is more than negligent conduct, careless conduct or accidental conduct,” the motion reads.

If Mowrer denies that motion, Harmon has two others filed and another one promised. One motion requests the judge reduce the two convictions for each woman to just one, since “the abuse alleged by the State occurred during a single act or course of conduct which was not directed differently toward either child.”

The next motion is for release pending appeal, which Harmon says is forthcoming. The Taylors were remanded immediately into custody following their Feb. 5 convictions, and Harmon’s motion says their crimes are neither capital nor violent offenses and that his clients carefully met all court conditions while released on recognizance in the 19 months between the incident and their trial.

District Attorney Andrea Reeb said Thursday the attorneys would argue those motions orally at the start of the 11 a.m. sentencing hearing, which will be followed by victim impact statements in the afternoon.

Reeb said she was “not too concerned” with Harmon’s “motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict,” which she had never before seen an attorney file on a criminal case.

As to the motion for mitigated sentence, Reeb said “we believe that because of the different injuries, the law believes they are going to be separate and distinct.” The state will further argue the release motion in court, and Reeb is “optimistic that (Mowrer) won’t set an appeal bond.”

“No surprises, Mr. Harmon did everything he said he was going to file,” she told The News. “We’re prepared to argue those and get in and get this thing closed up.”


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