Louisville woman now free after high court overturned historic m - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville woman now free after high court overturned historic murder conviction for leaving child in hot car

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) – A Louisville woman whose historic 2012 murder conviction and 35-year prison sentence for leaving a child to die in a hot vehicle was thrown out by the Kentucky Supreme Court last year has pleaded guilty to lesser charges and been released from prison.

In September, the high court ruled that the Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney's office was not allowed, under state law, to prosecute Mollie Shouse on the charge of wanton murder.

Under a change in law by the General Assembly in 2000 -- 12 years before the trial -- Shouse should have been tried, at most, on a lesser charge of second degree manslaughter.

In the ruling, the Supreme Court theorized that legislators felt a murder charge was too harsh of a punishment for such a crime.

"While nonetheless reprehensible, the grief and self blame that follows such conduct could be viewed as strong punishment that calls for a lesser criminal offense than murder," according to the court's ruling. 

Instead, on April 14, Shouse pleaded guilty to the lesser manslaughter charge, according to court records. Since the maximum penalty for second degree manslaughter is five years in prison, Shouse had already served her sentence and was released.

Her attorney, Rob Eggert, declined to comment.  The prosecutor in the case didn't immediately return a phone message.

In August 2012, a Jefferson Circuit Court jury found Shouse guilty of murder and other charges for the May 2011 death of her 2-year-old son, Kenton Brown.

Prosecutors argued Shouse was high on marijuana and Xanax when she left her son in a car for several hours and passed out in her Lyndon apartment.

The child was found hours later in his car seat. Neighbors tried to revive him but couldn't.

At the time, prosecutors said it was the first murder conviction in Kentucky related to the death of a child in a hot car.

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