2-year-old's dad calls verdict slap on the wrist

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. -- She was forgotten -- left alone on a daycare van to die in the hot Georgia sun.

Nearly three years later, a jury found the daycare owner and her daughter not guilty of felony murder for Jazmin Green's death. They were guilty on lesser charges, including reckless conduct.

But Jazmin's father, Charles Green, says the charges are nothing more than a slap on the wrist. He spoke exclusively to 11Alive's Blayne Alexander, his first interview since the verdict.

Green stresses that the women at the daycare center were good people who made horrible mistakes and he would have liked to see them convicted on stronger charges, including child cruelty.

MORE: Daycare owner, daughter acquitted of murder charges

But Green also points to a bigger issue; he says the state did not do enough to regulate that center to begin with, and he wants to see major changes.

"I don't want her name to just disappear after this verdict," Green said.

Green points to a March 2011 inspection of Marlo's Magnificent Early Learning Center. The center was cited for lack of documentation for a field trip taken five months before.

A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) said the state instituted a corrective action plan: instruction for the staff that day and a class 16 days later. Less than four months later, on June 20th, Jazmin was dead.

"I do know this, whatever they did, it wasn't enough," Green said. "They got their citation, they got their training, and my daughter still died."

Since Jazmin's death, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning says it's made considerable changes to keep children safe. Spokesperson Reg Griffin told 11Alive, the department has increased fines and disciplinary actions for daycares found to be in violation, along with expanding the power of emergency closure if a child is found to be in imminent danger.

"We are convinced that if the center had followed the rules as they were at the time, and certainly as they are now, Jazmin would be alive today," Griffin said.

But Green fears the changes are not enough.

"It's a slap on the hand," he said. "Then my baby dies, and you're still giving a slap on the hand."

On May 16th, DECAL will release a public service announcement called "Look Again," designed to warn parents and caregivers about the dangers of leaving children unattended in cars. Green's parents will be interviewed for the PSA, which will debut on YouTube.


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