Report: Charges reduced for mother in ocean case

Ebony Wilkerson booking photo (provided)

CORRECTION: The Associated Press incorrectly listed Wilkerson's inital charges as three counts of first-degree murder. She was initally charged with first-degree attempted murder.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Prosecutors in Daytona Beach say they've filed second-degree attempted{}murder and child abuse charges against a pregnant South Carolina woman who drove a minivan carrying her three small children into the Atlantic surf.

Volusia County Sheriff's deputies initially arrested 32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson on three counts each of first-degree attempted murder and child abuse charges following the March 4 incident.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports prosecutors wouldn't say why charges were reduced.

Public Defender James Purdy said in a statement that he plans to enter not guilty pleas at Wilkerson's arraignment Thursday. He says he believes the evidence will show Wilkerson never intended to harm the children -- ages 3, 9 and 10 -- or herself.

Beachgoers helped pull the screaming children and Wilkerson from the surf that day.