State presenting murder case against mother

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (AP) – Prosecutors continue presentation of their murder case against a Bradley County woman in the death of her young sons.

The state presented its first half-dozen witnesses on Tuesday in Cleveland, where 27-year-old Tasha Bates is being tried on charges of felony murder, aggravated child abuse and methamphetamine violations.

Bates’ sons – 5-year-old Leland and 3-year-old River – died in June 2012 after, according to authorities, they were left inside their mother’s car on a day that reached 101 degrees.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press ( ), attorneys don’t disagree on how the boys died, but sharply differ about whether Bates was responsible for exposing them to danger.

Defense lawyer Richard Hughes told jurors evidence would show his client acted irresponsibly and made poor decisions, but was innocent of murder.

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