Earlier this year, Tina Marie Alberson, 44 was sentenced to 85 years in prison following a conviction in the dehydration of her 10-year-old stepson who Alberson denied water for days during the record-high temperatures in Northern Texas.
Police thought that the death of the young boy was heat related until the medical examiner’s report proved otherwise. Alberson testified in her own defense, telling jurors that she had limited her stepson’s water intake to only a few times per day. Her reasoning: punishment for misbehaving. Throughout the day Alberson claimed that she saw no signs that he was in medical distress.
Adding more fuel to the fire, the boy’s fraternal twin brother, Joseph James (now 12-years-old) testified in court claiming that his brother (Jonathan) repeatedly asked for water throughout the day. Jonathan went as far as pretending that he needed to use the bathroom in order to sneak a drink from the water faucet before his stepmother ordered him to stay outside. Joseph added that he was concerned about his brother’s health but was too intimidated by his stepmother to say something.
After Jonathan died Alberson was charged with injury to a child with serious bodily injury, which is a first-degree felony in which someone knowingly or recklessly causes harm that creates a substantial risk of death. Eventually, after deliberating for over two hours, the jurors found Alberson guilty of second-degree felony and could face up to life in prison due to the fact that she has a previous felony conviction in which she hit someone with her van in 1998.
During the sentencing, the twins’ maternal grandmother, Sue Shotwell, testified that the boys never wanted to go to Alberson’s house and that Jonathan could not understand why he was always getting into trouble with his stepmother.
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