WISE, Va. - A local mother accused of being connected to the death of her daughter has been granted a bond.
"Everybody would stop and stare and say 'oh what a doll baby'," said Benjamin Baldwin, talking about his daughter. "She was a beautiful two-year-old girl. She was my baby."
Emma Marie Baldwin died in October 2012. Police were called to the house when Baldwin stopped breathing. She was rushed to Norton Community Hospital and then transferred to Knoxville where she died a few days later.
In November, Emma's mother Brandie Baldwin was arrested; she was charged with one count of second degree murder and three counts of child abuse. "It's a surreal experience to talk about the mother of my children and this trial. How are you supposed to feel about something like that?" Benjamin asked.
Brandie's boyfriend Juwan Moore was indicted on a capital murder charge and two counts of felony child abuse.
On Tuesday morning a Wise County judge granted Baldwin a $25,000 secured bond. "They put Brandi on the stand and she testified," Ben explained.
Ben was in the courtroom during the bond hearing. He said he agreed to the terms of her release and the bond could help with the murder trial in November. "She deserves to speak for her actions, but let's not forget the main objective -- the death penalty for Juwan Moore," he said.
As part of the deal, Baldwin will have to wear a home electronic monitoring device and is required to take weekly drug tests. She also cannot have any contact with her children. "I don't wish the death penalty for her. Now, if she does life for second degree murder and neglect and abuse, she needs to speak for it," Ben said.
Since the death of the toddler, Ben said there has been a huge outpouring of support from the community. "It's the most humbling and rewarding feeling to know people want to share Emma's story," he said.
He's using social media, a website in Emma's memory and non-profit groups to raise awareness about child abuse. "We're aligning with organizations to make sure something this doesn't happen again. Not just preventing it, we're going to end it," he said.
The Commonwealth Attorney's Office said Brandie Baldwin waived her right to a speedy trial. She and Juwan Moore are due back in court November 27 for the capital murder trial.
- New Person of interest identified in Washington County, Va. shooting
- Local overcrowded animal shelter fighting to avoid euthanasia
- More law enforcement agencies in our region looking to carry a lifesaving drug
- Norton clinic improving health for black lung patients
- Lowe's Heroes Project making improvements to Cherokee Elementary School