Home Daycare Provider Found Guilty of Manslaughter

The woman who ran a Palm Harbor home daycare was found guilty of causing the death of a 1-year-old in her care.

Stephanie Spurgeon was found guilty of manslaughter late yesterday and will now face up to 15 years in prison.

The jury came back with a guilty verdict after two days and 21 hours of deliberations.

Spurgeon’s daycare was in her home in the Deep Spring subdivision in Palm Harbor.

On Aug. 1, 2008, the grandmother of 1-year-old Maria Harris came by to pick her up after her first day at Spurgeon’s daycare, and found the little girl limp and not acting normally- she died soon after.

At the trial, there was a lot of confusing medical evidence about “shaken baby syndrome”. The prosecution presented doctors that testified, little Maria Harris had been thrown onto a bed or shaken very hard.

Spurgeon’s defense team countered that nobody saw their client hurt the young child, and the infant’s injuries could have happened long before being dropped off at the day care center.

Stephanie Spurgeon is being held without bail in the Pinellas County Jail; her formal sentencing will be on May 7th.