Charges have been reduced against 32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson, the mom who allegedly drove her three children into the Atlantic Ocean.
Wilkerson reportedly drove her three kids, ages 3, 9, and 10, through Daytona Beach and into the ocean on March 4. All survived and none were seriously injured, but Wilkerson was booked on three counts of attempted first-degree murder and child abuse.
However, after evidence surfaced of death threats from Wilkerson’s husband Lutful Ronjon, Wilkerson’s lawyer was able to get his client a reduced sentence.
Public Defender James Purdy asserts that his client didn’t intend to harm herself or her children, but that she drove into the ocean to escape her abuser.
Wilkerson’s sister, Jessica Harrell, filed for an injunction against Ronjon.
"(Ronjon) threatened to kill me and my sister if I participated in helping my sister escape his abuse," Harrell wrote in the request for the injunction. "I have to testify against him on behalf of my sister, and am afraid to come to the courthouse."
State Attorney R.J. Larizza said that the murder charges seemed correct at the time, but that proescutors “will consider the facts and the circumstances in resolving the case.”
“We look at the facts, we looked at the law and we believe those were the appropriate charges to file at this time,” Larizza said.
Wilkerson, who is pregnant, is being treated for prenatal care as well as psychiatric care. Despite the reduced charges—which add up to five years per child abuse charge, versus 15 or 30 years for a second- or first-degree murder charge—she is being held on $1.2 million bail.