A mother charged with leaving her 4-year-old daughter in a car for eight hours while she gambled at Maryland Live casino on New Year's Eve pleaded guilty Thursday and has been sentenced to five days in jail, and was ordered to stay away from gambling centers for three years, lawyers in the case said.
Alicia D. Brown, 25, of Baltimore County, pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment, one of the original four misdemeanor charges in Circuit Court before Judge Paul A. Hackner, who sentenced her to three years, suspending all but five days with the sentence to start immediately at the county detention center. She was also placed on supervised probation for three years and ordered to undergo general counseling, State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said in a statement.
Her lawyer, David Putzi, said in an interview Thursday that Brown, a U.S. Army veteran who is working on a master's degree in political science and criminal justice, apologized for her behavior, assured the judge that nothing like this would happen again and said she is a devoted mother to her two children, who are now 1 and 5 years old.
Putzi said he considered the plea and sentence "a fair resolution" that would allow Brown to "move forward with her life."
According to the prosecutor, the girl was found crying inside a GMC Terrain on the fourth floor of the casino parking garage in Hanover shortly after 6 p.m. on Dec. 31. A security camera showed the car arrived at about 10 a.m. The child was left without food or a way to stay warm, and according to the charging document, the outside temperature at the time she was found was 34 degrees.
The girl told a police officer that her mother told her she would be right back and left her alone.
"Leaving a young child unattended in a vehicle is not only dangerous, it's illegal," Leitess said in a release. "This case is particularly disturbing as Ms. Brown left her child unattended for not minutes, but hours. We are fortunate this case did not have a more tragic outcome."