Trial date set for infant death suspect
Published 9:46 am Wednesday, September 6, 2017
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
COLUMBIANA – A 25-year-old Maylene woman who has been charged with the 2014 death of her infant son is set to stand trial on a reckless murder charge in mid-November, according to scheduling documents filed in Shelby County Circuit Court in early September.
Sommer Nicole Wilford, who lists an address on Carriage Circle in Maylene, will appear in court for trial beginning on Monday, Nov. 13, according to court documents filed on Sept. 5. Wilford also will appear in court on Sept. 25 for a pretrial docket call and on Oct. 31 for a plea date.
“No continuances will be granted except for extreme circumstances,” read the Sept. 5 scheduling order from Judge William Bostick. “Should this case not be resolved by the end of the Nov. 13, 2017, trial week, it shall be placed on the court’s trial docket of Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, and given a priority setting.”
Wilford’s reckless murder charge came in the wake of a Feb. 28, 2014, vehicle crash near the intersection of Alabama 119 and Kent Dairy Road in Alabaster.
According to Alabaster Police, when officers arrived on the scene of the crash, they found Wilford “standing outside the vehicle that was engulfed in flames.” After Alabaster firefighters extinguished the fire, they discovered the body of 19-month-old Jayden Allen inside the vehicle.
Wilford was released from the Shelby County Jail on March 20, 2014, after multiple individuals put their properties up as collateral on her $300,000 bond.
Prosecutors have claimed Wilford was under the influence of drugs when the crash occurred.
In early August, Wilford’s attorney, Kenneth Moore, filed a request to dismiss the charge in Shelby County Circuit Court, saying Wilford was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when the incident happened, but claimed her actions “do not constitute reckless murder.”
Moore said Wilford drove her vehicle into a curb at a bank at the Alabama 119-Kent Dairy Road intersection shortly after midnight, got out of her car and tried to bang on the bank doors. Then a bush trapped under the vehicle caught fire and spread into the passenger compartment through the car’s open windows, Moore said.
A passerby saw the car fire and called police. Police and firefighters responded to the scene, discovered the infant deceased in the vehicle and arrested Wilford and charged her with reckless murder.
In his request, Moore argued Wilford’s actions fell under the scope of the manslaughter charge, not reckless murder.
“The prosecution has no evidence that the defendant acted ‘with extreme indifference to human life,’” read Moore’s request. “The evidence shows that, as a matter of law, the defendant’s actions were, at most, reckless.
“Since the defendant’s behavior did not create a generalized threat to the public, the appropriate charge is manslaughter,” read Moore’s request.
As of Sept. 6, Bostick had not ruled on Wilford’s request to dismiss the charge.