ATLANTA - Shocking testimony Wednesday in open court in the case against a mother who is accused of leaving her 3-year-old boy in a hot car for seven hours last month. A detective testified Lillian Stone, who faces murder charges, lied about how long her child was left in the car.
The Fulton County detective who took the stand during Wednesday's probable cause hearing testified that Stone claimed her son, Melvin Smith, was in the car for only a few hours when she realized she had left him in the backseat of her vehicle, but the detective said video from the family's home surveillance system told a different story.
"Lillian got out of the car, you can see her walk to the front door and open the door she kind of looks back at the car, then she goes in the house," Detective Jamie Gore, Fulton County Police Department.
Gore testified surveillance video captured on Stone's home surveillance cameras contradicts her initial statements to officers. Stone reportedly told investigators she forgot the child was in the car, went into the house, and then discovered the boy unconscious at around 3:30 that afternoon.
"Great parent, great parent. Never seen no bad in her," the child's teacher testified.
The toddler’s teacher, called by the defense, broke down as she insisted Stone was a good mom, who doted on her son.
"You can see Melvin moving around in the car trying to pull the seatbelt off, like all I can see is his arms moving," said Detective Gore.
The detective told the court, home surveillance video showed Stone walking into the house alone, just after 8 a.m., after taking her 5-year-old son to school. It then shows her milling about the house for about seven hours while her toddler remained in the car.
At one point that afternoon, Detective Gore said Stone's sister stopped by the house, apparently unaware the child was in the vehicle.
"She said everything seemed normal. They just had a conversation then she left," the detective said.
Gore said the video showed Stone at around 3:30 p.m. walking out the door of her home and returning with the child in her arms.
The detective said she disappears upstairs and when she returns the child has different clothes on. She said the video then shows Stone walking outside with the unconscious child in her arms. That is when a nurse who is passing by saw her in distress and tried to help the child.
Gore testified they found several texts between the child’s father and Stone that day indicating Stone was trying to reconcile with him after their recent breakup.
The detective also testified they found suspected marijuana residue, an empty bottle of OxyContin, and a spilled bottle of cough syrup in the home.
The judge bound the case over, granting Stone $75,000 bond on malice murder, felony murder, and child endangerment charges. She was also ordered to have no contact with her 5-year-old son.