• Day care operator who faces murder charge: 'I didn't do anything intentional that day'

    By: Mike Petchenik


    ALPHARETTA, Ga. - Former Alpharetta day care operator Janna Thompson told police that she’s not perfect, but maintained she never did anything intentionally to cause the death of a toddler in her care.

    That’s just some of what jurors heard Thursday in the third day of Thompson’s murder trial. 

    Thompson is facing second-degree murder and child cruelty charges stemming from the July 2014 death of 3-year-old Max Stephens.

    Prosecutors allege Thompson left Stephens and two other toddlers alone and unsupervised in her backyard for nearly 20 minutes, during which time Stephens wrapped a piece of twine around his neck and went down a slide causing him to suffocate.



    “I have a child not breathing. I need you to come,” Thompson could be heard yelling to dispatchers in a 911 call. “Stay with me, Max. Stay with me, baby.”


    Alpharetta police Detective David Bochniak testified that Thompson’s story about where she was and what she was doing when Max got hurt changed over the course of several interviews. 

    He also testified that Thompson wasn’t truthful with him about what state regulations said about how many children she could be watching at one time. 

    Evidence shows Thompson had seven kids at the home, but state regulations required her to have six or fewer.

    Records provided to jurors appear to show Thompson was on her phone checking the Georgia and Alabama football team schedules, and reading a story about former Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray when prosecutors said she should have been supervising the kids.

    In the last of police interviews Thompson gave prior to her arrest, she conceded she was not perfect.

    “In my heart and mind, I know I didn't do anything intentional that day,” she said. “I've never had an incident in my home, but that's not because I'm an awesome day care provider. It's because I believe God built a hedge of protection around my home."



    Thompson’s defense attorney, Ed Garland, used a tape measure to show jurors the length of distance Thompson would have been from Stephens to illustrate that she likely would have seen what was going on and taken action. 

    Garland questioned the timeline, and indicated that he believes Thompson was in her home for just three minutes away from the kids.

    In the recording, Thompson talked about how her years of child care had given her the ability to be keen and aware of what children were doing and when.

    “You may not have your eye on every child all the time, but in your mind you're thinking, '1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Or 1, 2, 3.' However many is present that day,” she said. “In your mind, you're constantly thinking, you know, who's where and what they're doing."



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