MELBOURNE, Fla. — A Florida father who forgot his infant daughter in his pickup truck in 2014 was sentenced to two years of probation Thursday, the State Attorney’s Office said.
Steven D. Lillie, 33, of Rockledge, Fla., discovered 9-month-old Anna Marie Lillie dead in his vehicle after several hours in June 2014. Lillie said he had intended to drop his daughter off at her grandmother’s house before he went to work, but that he forgot along the way. The child had been in the sweltering vehicle for up to seven hours.
He was originally charged with third-degree murder, manslaughter and leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle. Lillie agreed to plead guilty to the third charge, said Assistant State Attorney Bill Respess. The other two charges were dropped.
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If he was convicted on the original charges, Lillie faced up to 40 years in prison.
Respess said the State Attorney’s Office agreed to the plea based on Lillie having no previous criminal record.
Lillie, who worked at a Fraternal Order of Police call center, told police that he was supposed to drop off his daughter with his grandmother and then head to his job June 16, 2014. Hours later, Lillie found the child’s lifeless body in the back of his pickup truck after a relative called him to ask about the infant’s whereabouts, police reported.
Crying and distraught, he later got on the phone with a 911 dispatcher and said he had forgotten about the child being in the truck.
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“She’s been in the car for hours, and I absolutely forgot about her,” Lillie told dispatchers. “She’s not alive.”
The high temperature that day was 85 degrees, about 4 degrees below normal, according to the National Weather Service in Melbourne, Fla. But inside a vehicle, temperatures can quickly climb up to 120 degrees within an hour, causing children and animals left inside to suffer heatstroke.
Contributing: Ilana Kowarski and J.D. Gallop, Florida Today. Follow Lamaur Stancil on Twitter: @TCPalmLStancil
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