Trial date set for mother of toddler killed by boyfriend

ANDERSON — A new date is set for a jury trial and authorities plan to amend charges against Jennifer Harris, who is accused of neglect resulting in death of her 18-month-old son, Harlan Haines.

Harris, 28, of Anderson is accused of Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death. Her former boyfriend, Dylan Tate, 28, was convicted by a jury of murder, neglect and molestation of Harlan on June 14.

Jurors also agreed Tate should serve a life sentence without parole for Harlan’s death.

Tate took Harlan to Community Hospital Anderson on Feb. 23, 2018. Doctors and a medical examiner testified the lifeless toddler was covered in bruises, bite marks and cigarette burns when Tate brought him to the hospital.

During Tate’s trial, Madison County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Steve Koester said Tate brutally beat, tortured and molested Harlan before his death and tried to cover the murder and the injuries inflicted on Harlan by crashing his car into a pole.

A doctor also removed a brown paper towel from the back of Harlan’s mouth that was obstructing his airway.

Harlan was pronounced brain-dead two days after Tate took him to the hospital and died after being taken off life support.

Harris was a co-defendant in Tate’s trial and testified against him. She said the only injuries her son had the night before Tate took Harlan to the hospital was a fading bruise and scratch on his forehead.

On Monday, Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said they plan to add a Level 3 felony charge of neglect of a dependent against Harris for a broken leg Harlan had in December before his death.

Harlan was treated at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis for the injury on Dec. 27. Harris reportedly told doctors the injury occurred when a small Christmas tree fell on the boy.

Doctors were skeptical, however, because of the nature of the fracture and also because there was evidence of other injuries indicating possible physical abuse, Cummings said.

Harris’ trial is scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 12 in Madison Circuit Court 1, before Judge Angela Warner Sims.

Follow Traci L. Miller @_TraciMiller on Twitter, email her at traci.miller@heraldbulletin.com, or call her at 765-640-4805.