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Jaywalking mother to be retried

Oct. 24, 2011 at 7:47 PM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A Marietta, Ga., mother convicted on charges arising from the hit-and-run death of her 4-year-old son will get a new trial, authorities said.

Raquel Nelson's son, A.J. Newman, was crossing a road with her when he was fatally struck by driver Jerry Lee Guy in April 2010.

Guy subsequently pleaded guilty and received a six-month jail sentence, but police charged Nelson with vehicular homicide, reckless conduct and jaywalking for which she was convicted.

Nelson was eligible for a possible three-year jail term but State Court Judge Katherine Tanksley offered her a choice between probation for a year or a new trial without her attorney ever making such a request.

Nelson's second trial begins Tuesday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday.

Charges against her may be dropped outright by Cobb County Solicitor General Barry Morgan, but Assistant Solicitor Jim Newkirk argued passionately against a pretrial motion to throw out the case, accusing the mother of negligence for failing to prevent her son from pulling from her grasp and running into the street.

"It's very foreseeable that the child could've been in danger [while crossing the street] if she doesn't hold his hand," Newkirk said in a motions hearing this month.

Nelson has been on television worldwide and LaBron Newman, A.J.'s father and Nelson's ex-husband, says media exposure has affected the case.

"To me, it's like she's slapping the Cobb County court in the face," Newman said in a phone interview from his home in Bedford Heights, Ohio. "A year's time probation and 40 hours of community service and she thinks that is too much? Since she's been on TV everywhere, she feels like she can't be touched."

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