March 31 trial date set for Phoenix woman who left kids in car

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A March 31 trial date has been set for the woman who left her children alone in a hot car while she went to a job interview.

Shanesha Taylor is also scheduled to appear in Maricopa County Superior Court on March 24 for another pretrial conference. The court said Taylor appeared via telephone on Tuesday.

Taylor was scheduled to appear in court Dec. 10 on felony child abuse charges for leaving her children in the vehicle for about 45 minutes during a job interview in Scottsdale.

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge later rescheduled Taylor's trial for Feb. 17.

The charges were reinstated after Taylor missed two deadlines to fund a trust for her children from the more than $114,000 in donations that poured in after her tearful mug shot went viral.

Scottsdale police arrested Shanesha Taylor on March 20, 2014, after a witness heard a child crying inside a Dodge Durango parked in an office complex parking lot at 9700 N. 91st St. in Scottsdale about 12:30 p.m.

The witness said the SUV was parked directly in the sun with the engine off, the doors closed and four windows slightly open.

Taylor now has a public defender, appointed after her defense team walked out on her, and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said his patience had worn out waiting for Taylor to fund the trust as she repeatedly said she would in order to have the charges dropped.

As a result, Montgomery reinstated the charges.

A monthly budget Taylor provided in court in early December showed she was going through the donations at a rate of about $4,200 a month.

Among the expenses Taylor claims she spends are $300 a month on clothes, another $300 on dining and entertainment, $160 on cable TV, $250 on household expenses and $500 on groceries.

While there are allegations that she used some of the money to buy expensive clothes and even pay for a studio recording session for the father of her children, Taylor says that is not the case.

"None of that is the truth," she said. "None of that was verified. I financed my baby-daddy's rap career. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life."

"No way, shape or form did I buy anybody's rap album, pay for their rap album. No way," she continued.

She also explained that the budget she provided to the court - the one that put her monthly expenses at about $4,200 - does not reflect her actual expenditures. Rather, that budget is "an idea of what we would need on a monthly basis in order to be able to get by. Would I max out those numbers? No."

Taylor also said the trust for her children has been funded.

"I have been asked not to reveal the amount in the trust, but the trust is set up. It is funded," she said.

She did not say who asked her not to talk about the trust, but she did say she was leery of funding it.

"My children are my best interest. I am here to make sure that their needs are provided for, but will I set aside a large amount of money for 16, 18 years that we need to get by today? That's not realistic."

She said she was concerned about the terms of the trust required by the prosecutor.

"The trust was written by an attorney who didn't quite write it the way that would be beneficial for the family," she explained. "I expressed those concerns months ago and those concerns were never brought to the court."

Although she hopes to resolve the situation without a trial, Taylor, who is still unemployed, was pleased with the judge's decision to delay the proceeding.

"It means that we can refocus the case back on the issue at hand, on a single mother who did not have a home, who did not have a job and was trying to provide for her children on that day," she said after Wednesday's hearing. "What the public does not acknowledge at this point ... is that I was a mother trying to do the best I could by my children that day."

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