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Attorney asks for Columbia child death charges to be thrown out


The attorney for the man accused of killing a baby and leaving its body behind a store wants his most-serious charges dismissed.

Staffone Fountain, 31, was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and abandoning a corpse. He is being held in the Boone County Jail without bond.

Attorney Jennifer Bukowsky asked Judge Kevin Crane to dismiss the endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree murder charges for Fountain. Bukowsky says prosecutors accused Fountain of "multiple acts" that may have led to the infant's death in 2017, which could violate trial rules.

Police arrested Fountain and the baby's mother, Lavosha Daniels, in June 2022. Fountain was charged with first-degree murder and abandoning a corpse. Daniels was charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and abandoning a corpse.

A note turned into police in 2022 implicated Fountain in the killing of Samone Daniels -- who was estimated to be about 4-5 months old. Officers found the baby's remains inside a bag behind McKnight Tire on Providence Road in 2019.

Former Columbia police chief Geoff Jones had said said the baby died two years before her remains were discovered. Assistant Chief Jeremiah Hunter previously said the baby died at the Red Roof Inn in Columbia.

The Boone County Prosecutor's Office amended Fountain's charges on Aug. 18 from first-degree murder to endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree murder under Missouri's felony murder rule.

Assistant Prosecutor Sue Boresi claimed in court documents that Fountain endangered the child by "striking S.J.D. or by placing S.J.D. in an unsafe sleeping environment or by a combination of striking S.J.D. and placing S.J.D. in an unsafe sleeping environment." Bukowsky also pointed out that prosecutors claim Fountain acted either by himself or with someone's help.

Bukowsky said the charge claims "multiple acts," making it more difficult for a jury to come to a unanimous verdict. She said a medical examiner's report found the baby died from "multiple blunt force traumas."

Bukowsky also questioned whether the the circumstances fit the charge. She claimed the child was found in a car seat in a bathtub by Daniels and Fountain.

Bukowsky said a judge might decide that "placing a child in a car seat that was placed in a bathtub is not a sufficient factual basis to support a conviction...of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree and felony murder in the second degree."

Bukowsky also asked that prosecutors provide more specific details on the charges, including who may have done what that caused the baby's death.

"Does the state allege that leaving a premature infant in car seat that is placed in a bathtub is in and of itself an unsafe sleeping environment?" Bukowsky wrote in the motion to dismiss. "Is it alleging that [Fountain] improperly placed the child in the car seat? Does it intend to present evidence that [Fountain] created other alleged unsafe sleeping conditions prior to the child's death such as a towel, a shower curtain, or a coat? These matters must be stated with more particularity so [Fountain] can prepare an adequate defense."

A judge previously stated that Fountain allegedly strangled the child.

Fountain's trial is scheduled to start on Oct. 17. Daniels is awaiting a trial date.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.


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