Mom's hot-car infant death trial begins

July 20, 2010 at 2:46 PM

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn., July 20 (UPI) -- The trial of a Tennessee mother charged with murder for leaving her infant in a hot car while she went bar-hopping began Tuesday, court records indicated.

Cortni Lee Nichols, 26, is also accused of aggravated neglect of her daughter, Faith, whom Nichols allegedly left in her car in the parking lot of Yes Dear Bar for six hours in July 2008, the Gannett Tennessee reported.

Court records in Clarksville showed the baby's temperature reached 103.8 degrees before she died.

While police said Nichols admitted leaving the baby in the car while she bar-hopped, Nichols wrote to a fellow inmate in 2009 that she was "wrongly accused" and hoped to have justice, the newspaper said.

Nichols also said the media "lied and made the whole deal worse than the truth."

"That's okay, though, because I know and God knows the truth. I love/loved my daughter and I always will," Nichols wrote.

Nichols faces an automatic life sentence if found guilty of murder and won't be eligible for parole until she is 77 years old. Aggravated child abuse has a penalty of 15 to 25 years in prison, the newspaper said.

The jury was impaneled Monday and will be sequestered, the newspaper said.

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