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PHOENIX — For a time, Shanesha Taylor was an Internet sensation. She was the mother who — despite leaving her children in a sweltering car during a job interview — attracted sympathy from around the nation with a tear-stained mug shot. She received $114,000 in donations from a public that seemed inclined to give her a pass for endangering her children based on the fact that she was out trying to get a job and was heartbroken over what she had done. Prosecutors gave her a break, too, allowing her to keep her kids and not face charges as long as she set up a $60,000 trust fund for her children with the donated money.
But Taylor is running out of second chances. She breached the deal by missing a Thursday deadline for putting money in the trusts, even after the amount of her payments was lowered to $40,000. Now that her deal has been revoked, Taylor is facing a Dec. 10 trial on two felony child-abuse charges. Outside of a Thursday court hearing, Taylor repeatedly refused to say how much of the donated money remains, but said it was well over $60,000. She said she didn't fund the trusts because her children won't get the money if they choose not to attend college.
Prosecutors say the mother of three has spent about $4,100 per month, including more than $1,000 in non-essential items such as cable TV, clothing and dining. Prosecutor Bill Montgomery said this week that his patience "has reached its limit." Taylor said she isn't living an extravagant lifestyle, taking her children out to eat at places like McDonald's and Chuck E. Cheese's. More importantly, Taylor said, is that she is still looking for work on a regular basis. "I am not some lazy bum sitting on the couch," Taylor said.
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