By Noah Haglund
The Post and Courier
Thursday, May 1, 2008
A mother shouldn't have left her 7-year-old daughter alone in their St. Stephen house for several hours last fall, 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said. While Shaveta McGill was gone, the child was beaten to death.
Nobody has been charged with Ta'Mya Grant's killing, and nobody has been ruled out, either, Wilson said. Authorities think that by leaving Ta'Mya by herself so long, McGill put the child at "unreasonable risk" of harm.
"These charges are related to her having left the child at home, unattended, for hours and not having secured the home while the child was left," Wilson said.
McGill was charged Tuesday with unlawful conduct toward a child, a felony punishable by as much as 10 years in prison. The 23-year-old appeared for a bond hearing at Berkeley County's Hill-Finklea Detention Center Wednesday.
Magistrate Harry Wright set bail at $40,000. If released, McGill must submit to drug testing and is barred from contact with children under the age of 16. She remained in jail late Wednesday.
Ta'Mya was found beaten to death Sept. 29 at her family's house on Welch Street in St. Stephen. A board with a nail embedded in it was used to strike the child, authorities have said.
McGill told police that she left the girl at home at 10:30 p.m. She told them she went to get cigarettes, then walked to another home nearby and later met with two male friends. When the friends drove her back home, she went inside then came out saying her daughter had been hurt, police said.
Authorities received a 911 call about 1 a.m. At the scene, investigators found blood splatter, a bloody handprint and a blood-stained, 10-inch piece of wood with a 1-inch nail protruding from it.
The State Law Enforcement Division and St. Stephen police are investigating.
Defense attorney Eduardo Curry said McGill has been working recently with a food service company and living with a friend in Goose Creek.
"I want the public to under- stand that these are always hard cases when you have mothers and children," he said. "It's so easy to judge (with) 20-20 hindsight."
The solicitor declined to discuss where evidence was leading detectives. She wouldn't say why she wanted McGill to submit to drug testing, except to say that it was related to evidence of drug use that came up during the investigation.
"We want the community to know that nobody's at risk at this point," Wilson said, but added, "We keep our eyes open to all suspects."
Reached Wednesday afternoon, McGill's cousin Shyala Ford said, "I don't have anything I would like to say. It's a pending case."
Curry didn't think the evidence points to his client.
"If they were going to charge her with murder, they would've charged her," he said. "We believe the killer's still out there."
Nita Birmingham contributed to this report.
Reach Noah Haglund at firstname.lastname@example.org 937-5550.
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