published Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Live coverage: Jury selected in Tasha Bates trial

Jury selection begins in Judge Amy Reedy's Bradley County criminal courtroom for the trial of Tasha Bates, a 27-year-old mother accused in last summer's hyperthermia death of her two sons, 3-year-old River and 5-year-old Leland. Bates is charged with felony murder, aggravated child abuse and a meth related charge.
Jury selection begins in Judge Amy Reedy's Bradley County criminal courtroom for the trial of Tasha Bates, a 27-year-old mother accused in last summer's hyperthermia death of her two sons, 3-year-old River and 5-year-old Leland. Bates is charged with felony murder, aggravated child abuse and a meth related charge.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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TIMELINE

June 28, 2012 -- Shortly before 3 p.m., Tasha Bates called 911 saying she had found the boys unresponsive at her Keith Valley Road home. Initially, she told first responders the boys might have drowned. Bates later tells officials she had left her boys unattended on a Slip 'n Slide outside her home for 45 minutes. The high that day was 101, according to National Weather Service records.

Authorities soon reported that the deaths didn't involve water, and Bates later told officials she had left the boys unattended on a Slip 'N Slide for 45 minutes.

River is pronounced dead at Skyridge Medical Center in Cleveland.

June 29 -- Leland is pronounced dead at T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga.

July 18 -- Tasha Bates is arrested after being indicted by a grand jury for felony murder, aggravated child abuse and meth charges. The Bradley County Sheriff's Office detectives say they've found reason to believe her sons died in a car. She is given no bond.

July 20 -- A 911 tape of Tasha Bates' father, Mike Kile, calling for help is released. In the tape, Bates says that the boys were playing outside when they overheated.

August 13 -- At her arraignment, Tasha Bates' mother says the boys were Tasha's "whole life." "She has been a mother since before she was 18. She would never do anything to hurt them," she said.

Oct. 24 -- A final autopsy of the Bates' brothers reveals that River suffered core body temperatures of at least 109 degrees before his death. Officials said they believed the core temperature for Leland could have been just as high. The Bradley County medical examiner says the boys had the worst case of hyperthermia he had ever encountered. Both boys were hydrated and otherwise in good health.

Nov. 19 -- Trial date set for Aug. 27.

A jury has been selected in the trial of a Bradley County mother accused of murder in the overheating death of her two young sons.

Tasha Bates, 27, is facing murder, child abuse and drug charges in the deaths last summer of 3-year-old River and 5-year old Leland Bates, who died of hyperthermia in what prosecutors say was an overheated car.

Previously Bates has claimed that she left the boys alone outside on a Slip n Slide for 45 minutes.

The 16-member jury — which includes two sets of alternates in this case — is composed of five women and eleven men.

Before settling on the jury prosecutor Stephen Hatchett and Bates' public attorney Richard Hughes quizzed the jury, asking them if they could be fair despite the sensitivities of a case that involved children.

Hughes began by saying "there is not anything more tragic or sad or shocking than the death of young children."

But later on he asked whether jurors could keep an open mind.

"This is case is not about how you would raise your children. It's not about your lifestyle. …Your obligation as a juror is to decide the case based on the facts that are presented."

A number of potential jurors said they simply could not be fair given the fact that children were involved, and were dismissed.

The two attorneys also questioned potential jurors about how much media exposure they've had to the case.

"I'm going to do my dead-level best to convict this woman of ever charge against her, but she deserves a fair trial," Hatchett said before asking potential jurors about their connection to the case.

While no proof has been entered, both attorneys references some details of upcoming testimony, including evidence involving Bates' alleged drug usage and the fact that the boys' slept in a garage beside their trailer because there was no air conditioning at their home.





Tasha Bates trial

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