Finally! Something to give us a little confidence in our legal system!
A Cobb County mother has opted for a new trial to defend herself against accusations that she was responsible for the death of her 4-year-old son, her attorney said.
Raquel Nelson was convicted earlier on three charges after A.J. Nelson was killed by a hit-and-run driver was sentenced Tuesday to 40 hours of community service and 12 months’ probation — and then offered a new trial.
The judge’s unusual decision was announced at a sentencing hearing Tuesday in Cobb County State Court.
“[Ms. Nelson] is planning to exercise her right to a new trial,” attorney David Savoy said.
No date has been set for the new trial.
Judge Katherine Tanksley sentenced Nelson to 12 months probation for the first two counts and 12 months probation for the third count, to be served concurrently.
Tanksley also suspended $1,000 fines that could be levied for each misdemeanor count.
If Nelson is acquitted in a new trial, her record would be cleared.
Nelson, 30, was convicted earlier this month of homicide by vehicle in the second degree, crossing roadway elsewhere than at crosswalk and reckless conduct in the April 10, 2010 incident.
She and her three children were trying to cross four-lane Austell Road to their apartment after getting off a Cobb Community Transit bus.
A.J. was struck by a car and killed. The mother and her younger daughter suffered minor injuries, while her older daughter was not hurt.
Jerry L. Guy, the driver who admitted hitting A.J. when he pleaded guilty to hit-and-run, served six months in jail, despite having been convicted in 1997 of a similar offense. He was released in October and will serve the remainder of his five-year sentence on probation.
National media outlets, from CNN and ABC News to Reuters, were in the courtroom for Nelson’s case. More than 40 people, including family and friends, came early to support Nelson and demand leniency against her, asking that she not be sent to jail.
We hope this trial turns out a little more fairly. We’re sure no courtroom can punish Raquel Nelson more harshly than what she’s already suffered. And her little girls need her.