During a court appearance Saturday morning, Judge Shirley Green set Ebony Wilkerson's bond at $1.2 million -- $300,000 for each count of attempted first-degree murder and $100,000 for each count of child abuse.
Wilkerson’s demeanor was of disbelief, disagreeing with the judge and almost becoming argumentative.
The pregnant mother, who has been held in custody at the Volusia County Jail, walked in looking rather aloof.
Wilkerson was first denied bond on three charges of first-degree attempted murder and three charges of child abuse and endangerment. However, her public defender was able to convince the judge to allow bond.
Green set a bond amount after an exchange with attorneys, citing how Wilkerson is a flight risk, yet has family in the area, and how denying bond was rather excessive.
Wilkerson: I am a citizen.
Green: Well, I’ve set the bond and if you don’t like it, you can ask to have it reviewed by another judge. But, that’s the bond that I’m setting today.
Wilkerson: That’s too… That’s too.
Green: One million, two hundred thousand dollars.
While Wilkerson was walking away, you can hear her uttering ‘this doesn’t make sense. This isn’t fair.’
A dependency hearing for Wilkerson is scheduled for Monday.
We did try to speak with a small group of family and friends who came to support Wilkerson. However, they did not want to talk and even pushed a few reporters out of their way.
As for the plea, Public Defender Jim Purdy would not go into detail but did indicate something along the lines of not guilty.
Investigators said Wilkerson was 27 weeks pregnant when she drove her 2012 Honda Odyssey into the rough surf at Daytona Beach. Deputies said she locked the doors, put up the windows and told her three frightened children to close their eyes on go to sleep, ignoring their pleas for help and insisting she was taking them all to "a safer place."
Wilkerson took off, leaving her children, a 3-year-old girl, a 9-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, in the van.
While at the hospital, deputies said the children told them, "Mom tried to kill us." The 10-year-old girl told Volusia County Beach Safety officers that their mother took them to the beach "so we could die."
Investigators said a family member told them that Wilkerson was in an abusive relationship, and she came to Florida with her children to escape her husband. The relative added Wilkerson had no prior history of mental illness.
An arraignment in this case should happen in the next three to four weeks.
The children are now in the custody of Florida Department of Children and Families.
Wilkerson's husband thanks rescuers
As Ebony Wilkerson remains behind bars on more than $1 million bond, her husband is thanking rescuers for saving his family. He's also denying Wilkerson’s domestic abuse allegations.
Investigators said the 32-year-old mother came to Daytona Beach from South Carolina, to escape domestic abuse. In Wilkerson’s arrest affidavit, when an investigator asked her what happened on the beach, Wilkerson said “she had endured 14 years of agony with her husband.”
We reached out to Wilkerson’s husband, Lutful Ronjon. Ronjon’s attorney, Leonard R. Ross, released a statement Saturday night:
"Mr. Ronjon thanks God and the people who rescued his family. He has and will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities. The domestic violence allegations concerning Mr. Ronjon were baseless and were the result of extreme mental illness. Mr. Ronjon greatly appreciates any privacy his family can now enjoy during this difficult time."