Escambia County day care worker enters plea in hot van death

Source: Escambia County Jail log

A Pensacola day care worker accused of leaving a child in a hot car made a plea in court.

The State Attorney said 28-year-old Louvenia Shantae Johnson entered a plea of no contest on Monday.

Johnson was charged in connection to the death of 3-year-old Jai'Nier Barnes in 2017.

According to an autopsy conducted at Sacred Heart Hospital, the child died of hyperthermia after she was found inside a hot van at In His Arms Christian Academy.

According to a police report, Johnson "knowingly and intentionally" did not follow established procedure to make sure the daycare transport van was empty.

Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille said Johnson received a traffic citation from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office on January 19, 2014 for also leaving two children unattended in her vehicle, unrestrained, at Save-A-Penny store. Marcille said that their office did not deal with the case because it was not criminal.

Johnson is set to be sentenced on August 10.

Johnson is expected to testify in the trial of another suspect connected to the death of Jai'Nier, Cornel McGee.

McGee was the van driver and is scheduled to go to trial on June 25.

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