Great-grandparents Appeal Conviction in Child’s Hot Car Death

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The Northwest Arkansas couple found guilty in the death of their great-grandson after he was left in a hot car have appealed their conviction, a city official said.

William James Staten, 51, and Margette Incise Staten, 61, were found guilty Dec. 6 in Springdale District Court of misdemeanor negligent homicide, and were given the maximum jail sentence of one year each.

The jail sentence was to begin Tuesday (Dec. 11), but the appeal to Washington County Circuit Court allows them to remain out of jail unless they are found guilty in that court, said Jon Nelson, deputy city attorney. A Circuit Court date has not been set, officials said.

If found guilty in Circuit Court, they face a sentence on the misdemeanor charge of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine, Nelson said.

The judge in their trial earlier this month did not assess the $2,500 fine, Nelson said.

Their great-grandson, Joniah Chronister, 2, died after being left in a hot car on Aug. 3 in the Springdale Walmart parking lot.

The Statens left the child inside the car while shopping at the store, police said. The temperature likely rose to 150 degrees inside the dark-colored Ford Focus where the boy was buckled into a car seat, according to investigators.

Police said they believe the boy had been in the car for about two hours.

Click here to read more about the case.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.