Charges Against S.C. Mother Downgraded

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Prosecutors in Daytona Beach say they've filed attempted second-degree murder and child abuse charges against the pregnant South Carolina woman who drove a minivan carrying her three small children into the Atlantic surf.

Volusia County Sheriff's deputies initially arrested 32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson on three counts each of first-degree murder and child abuse charges following the March 4 incident.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports prosecutors wouldn't say why charges were reduced.

Public Defender James Purdy said in a statement that he plans to enter not guilty pleas at Wilkerson's arraignment Thursday. He says he believes the evidence will show Wilkerson never intended to harm the children - ages 3, 9 and 10 - or herself.

Beachgoers helped pull the screaming children and Wilkerson from the surf that day.


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