FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — A homeless woman accused of leaving her newborn son to die in a Dumpster was granted $50,000 bond Wednesday by a Broward judge.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reports it is unclear whether the woman’s family would post bail for her, or where she would stay if released.
Alexandria Sladon-Marler, 33, was arrested Monday on charges of aggravated manslaughter and child neglect for allegedly leaving her baby in a Dumpster at the hotel where she had been living, the Fort Lauderdale Beach Palace Hotel and Suites on North Ocean Boulevard.
Sladon-Marler, who was being held at Broward County Jail, may still face first-degree murder charges if a grand jury indicts her, said Broward prosecutor Gregg Rossman.
On Wednesday, Sladon-Marler appeared via video before Broward Circuit Judge John “Jay” Hurley, who held a half-hour hearing concerning Sladon-Marler’s mental health, her living arrangements, her lengthy history of petty crimes, and her ties to in the community.
During the hearing, Sladon-Marler appeared distraught and attempted several times to make a statement regarding her case. But Hurley repeatedly told Sladon-Marler to remain silent for her own benefit.
“You’ve been in my courtroom many a time,’’ Hurley said, noting that he already knew Sladon-Marler by name because she frequently appeared before him for charges such as petty theft, public intoxication and trespassing.
Hurley also noted that about three or four years ago, during an appear in his courtroom, Sladon-Marler “acted out” and appeared to display symptoms of mental illness.
“It seemed rather clear there were issues,’’ he said.
Hurley heard from Sladon-Marler’s aunt, Victoria Kenney, who testified that she is Sladon-Marler’s only family member in South Florida, but that her parents live in Ocala.
Addressing her niece’s 32-year history in South Florida, Kenney said Sladon-Marler regularly attends church at St. Pius the Tenth Catholic Church in Fort Lauderdale. Sladon-Marler made the sign of the cross at least twice on camera.
Kenney said Sladon-Marler has had “drinking and narcotics” problems for the past eight to 10 years, and that her niece has been homeless, living on the streets and in hotels, for the past three to four years.
She said Sladon-Marler’s only source of income is Social Security disability benefits deriving from her mental illness. Kenney had been paying for Sladon-Marler’s stay at the Palace Hotel since about June.
Kenney also told Hurley that she has tried repeatedly to get Sladon-Marler involuntarily committed for mental health and substance abuse treatment in the past, but that Sladon-Marler always left those programs before completing treatment.
Asked where Sladon-Marler would reside if she were released on bond, Kenney said she would make arrangements, preferably at a mental health and substance abuse treatment facility. But Kenney had yet to find a place for her niece to stay as of Wednesday afternoon.
Sladon-Marler was arrested Monday after she checked out of Broward Health Medical Center. She had been in the hospital since Aug. 10, the same day police said they discovered the dead baby wrapped in a towel and pillowcase.
Hurley said Sladon-Marler was examined at the hospital by a doctor who determined that she had delivered a baby. But when asked the whereabouts of the child, Sladon-Marler told the doctor she had the baby aborted days earlier.
However, the umbilical cord attached to Sladon-Marler matched the one attached to the dead baby found in the trash bin. The Broward Medical Examiner ruled the baby had been carried to full term and born alive because his lungs contained air.
Hurley said a hotel security camera showed Sladon-Marler leaving with a bundle under arm and heading toward the trash bin. Hurley said police also found a trail of blood leading from Sladon-Marler’s second-floor room to the Dumpster where police found her newborn son.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)