Crime

Owner of Georgetown day care where baby died now faces punishment

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) - After pleading guilty to a tampering with evidence charge last week, Holly Harrison, 38, is now facing her sentencing phase in Williamson County.

Harrison also entered a no contest plea to her charge of injury of a child. The plea means she's not accepting guilt but will accept punishment and not fight the charge. The judge can sentence Harrison anywhere between two to 10 years for the tampering charge and two to 20 years for the injury of a child charge.

Harrison ran All About Kids, an in-home day care in Georgetown where 5-month-old Brody Havins died on Jan. 13, 2016. According to an arrest affidavit, on the morning of the baby's death, Harrison said she went to wake Brody from his nap at 10:30 a.m. but found him "pale, limp and non-responsive." 

A review of the 911 tape recorded Harrison telling the dispatcher that she thought the baby had choked on his infant glove. While on the phone with the dispatcher, Harrison said she "could see a white infant glove in his mouth" and proceeded to remove it after the dispatcher directed her to do so.

An autopsy report showed the baby could not have swallowed the infant glove, because his "epiglottis was not large enough to allow it to pass," as documented in the affidavit. The doctor doing the autopsy went on to say if the child was choking on his infant glove, "the glove would have covered his airway, and simply removing the glove from his mouth would have allowed him to breath."

Court records indicated Harrison waited approximately 14 minutes from the time she found something wrong with the baby, until the time she called 911.

"Praying like hell it wasn't true."

On Monday morning, the court played Harrison's 911 call. The first witness called during sentencing was Craig Owen, a Georgetown firefighter and EMT. Owen testified that nobody was doing CPR when he walked into Harrison's house after they were called to the scene. He also said he did not see anything in Brody's airway when he began CPR. Owen said he did not notice any vomit coming from Brody. Harrison told the dispatcher in the 911 call that when she tried to give Brody CPR, he vomited. Owen said he did not see any immediate signs, like saliva around Brody's mouth, showing CPR had been done. 

Owen said the boy's body was pale and his lips were a blue color. Owen said after they began CPR, he started to turn pink again, signs the CPR was working. The defense pointed out that although they hooked up Brody to an AED, it advised "do not shock" because it did not detect any electric rhythms in the heart, what is known as a "flat line." A paramedic who helped Brody testified that he sees patients come back from a "flat line."

That same paramedic, Caleb Longino, testified saying, "no matter how you were to fold that mitten there is no physical way to get that into [an infant's airway]." Harrison testified she thought she saw a corner of the mitten down in Brody's throat. Longino said it is possible the mitten could've blocked Brody's airway, but there would've been a noticeable struggle, possibly coughing and gagging. 

David Havins, Brody's father took the stand, describing the moment he saw Brody after he had passed away. He said he was lying swaddled on a bed and when he picked him up, he was "praying like hell it wasn't true."

Havins testified his son wore infant mittens almost all the time so he wouldn't scratch his face or chew on his hands. He said he couldn't recall a time when Brody took the mittens off or when they fell off. 

Harrison's part-time employee, Brenda Michaels, testified she would only help Harrison at her day care during the morning hours for child drop-off and during the afternoon for pick-up. Several parents testified they were under the impression Michaels worked at the day care all day. Michaels also said she had stopped working mornings just before Brody died because Harrison said she didn't need her in the mornings. One parent said she never would've left her child with Harrison had she known it was only Harrison with the kids during the day. 

Michaels testified that Harrison called her and told her she deleted her call logs to Michaels and Harrison's daughter. Michaels and two parents who had kids in Harrison's day care testified Harrison called them before she called 911. The parents said Harrison called them to come pick up their children. 

The same two parents said they were not allowed to visit their children at Harrison's day care during the day, because Harrison said it would upset the children. One parent said if she had to take her daughter to an appointment in the morning, she couldn't drop her daughter off at Harrison's during the day. 

The state plans to call 18 witnesses before Judge Rick Kennon. The state is asking for a prison sentence.


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