Judge rejects mother's accident claim in son's drowning

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee judge has moved forward in charging a woman with murder after she left her 11-month-old son to drown in a bathtub while she went to smoke a cigarette.

Knox County Judge Patricia Long Hall rejected the claim that Lindsee Leonardo, 32, unintentionally left her son Aiden in the bathtub to drown last month, Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

Leonardo previously told authorities she left her son and her 23-month-old daughter in the tub with about 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water inside while she stepped outside for a cigarette and some “me time” on Jan. 8.

She told police she was gone about 10 minutes and when she returned her daughter had turned on the water, filling the tub. The infant was found floating on his back and not breathing. He was hospitalized and died two days later.

On Wednesday, Judge Hall said the case was not an accident as Leonardo had claimed. The judge said Leonardo knowingly walked out of the bathroom with the two children in the tub.

“It is intentional," Hall said. "The only thing that's not foreseeable is that her other child didn't die.”

Knox County Sheriff's Office Detective Miranda Spangler during a preliminary hearing Tuesday said there was no evidence to suggest Leonardo intended to harm her children, however, she did say the mother was “neglectful.”

Leonardo has been charged with first-degree murder in perpetration of a crime and aggravated child abuse. She remains in jail on $350,000 bond.