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The Georgia mother accused of killing her toddler son and tossing his body into a dumpster was arraigned Thursday morning on 19 counts, including three counts of murder, and ordered held without bond at a hearing in Savannah.
Leilani Simon, 23, was arrested on November 21, six weeks after she reported 22-month-old Quinton Simon missing and tried to blame his father for his disappearance. She reportedly changed her story about the night little Quinton disappeared multiple times during the lengthy search for the boy, which ended on November 18, when investigators found his remains in a landfill, as CrimeOnline previously reported. They had combed through 1.2 million pounds of garbage to find them.
The first order of business at Thursday’s hearing was Judge Tammy Stokes’s ruling that cameras could film the proceedings to be played back later, over the objections of both the prosecution and defense, WJCL reported. She had previously barred livestreaming.
After that ruling, the judge heard arguments from Simon’s team of three public defenders for bond. The attorneys argued that Simon was not a flight risk because she had remained in Chatham County even though law enforcement had called her a suspect in Quinton’s death and that she wanted to reunited with her other two children, a 9-month-old girl and a 4-year-old boy.
The state’s response was a nine-page, pre-filed document arguing the opposite. Stokes ultimately agreed with prosecutors and denied bond.
Simon’s attorneys promptly asked that the arraignment be postponed, another request Stokes denied. The defendant entered a not guilty plea, and her attorneys requested a jury trial, according to WSAV.
The judge did not rule on motions to dismiss the charges against Simon filed by her attorneys earlier this week. A hearing on those motions will be scheduled later, she said.
WJCL noted that Simon’s mother, Billie Jo Howell, was not present at her daughter’s arraignment.
[Featured image: Leilani Simon/Pool video via WSAV]