Mother whose son died in hot minivan gets probation

Associated Press

Mount Clemens — The mother of a 2-year-old boy who died in a hot minivan in Macomb County has been placed on probation after prosecutors failed to get a murder charge reinstated.

Audrionna Rhoades appeared in court Tuesday, months after pleading no contest to child abuse.

James Nelson died after being strapped in the van for hours in Shelby Township in 2013. Rhoades took a car to work, and there apparently was confusion over who was supposed to watch the child.

Judge Jennifer Faunce says the loss of a child was enough punishment. The judge dismissed a second-degree murder charge earlier this year, a decision that was upheld by the Michigan appeals court.

Defense attorney Leon Weiss says probation is a fair sentence. Rhoades spent nearly eight months in jail after her arrest.