Skinner pleads not guilty

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Georgia woman who was indicted by a Shelby County Grand Jury on two counts of manslaughter in connection with the drowning deaths of her 5-year-old daughter and 18-month-old son has plead not guilty.

Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens confirmed the not guilty plea entered by Brandon &8220;Brandee&8221; Leigh Whitaker Skinner in February.

She was 30 at the time of her arrest in 2005.

Owens also confirmed that private attorney Tommy Spina would represent Skinner but that no trial date has been set.

In July 2005, Hoover Police investigated the cause of an accident in which two children drowned when the car they were riding in plunged into the Cahaba River.

Media reports at the time indicated that a 2002 BMW sedan plunged into the Cahaba River.

The children&8217;s mother was pulled from the river shortly after she said her car veered off U.S. Highway 31 into the river.

Skinner said at the time she managed to swim away but the car was washed down the Cahaba with the children inside.

She and her husband, Reagan Skinner, resided on Mountain Laurel Court in Riverchase.

The case was heard by the November 2005 session of Shelby County Grand Jury.

Shelby County Chief Assistant District Attorney Bill Bostick announced the indictment of Skinner during a press conference held at the Shelby County Courthouse.

He said Skinner turned herself in, was arrested within an hour of the press conference and was released on $50,000 bond.

Bostick, who will prosecute the case along with Owens, commended Hoover Police and investigators.

He said the charges could carry a sentence of two to 20 years for each of the two counts and would have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt