DALLAS (AP) — A Dallas woman was convicted Friday in the dehydration death of her 10-year-old stepson who was denied water for days during record-high temperatures in North Texas.
Jurors deliberated more than two hours before finding Tina Marie Alberson, 44, guilty of reckless injury to a child, a second-degree felony, in the July 2011 death of Jonathan James. Alberson faces up to life in prison because of a previous felony conviction.
Testimony in the punishment phase of her trial began Friday afternoon, but jurors went home after deliberating for about an hour without reaching a decision about her sentence. The jury will resume deliberations Tuesday.
Police thought Jonathan's death was heat-related until the medical examiner's report.
Alberson had testified in her own defense. She told jurors she limited Jonathan's water intake only a few times as punishment for misbehaving, and that she saw him drinking water when he wasn't in "time-out." She said she saw no sign that he was in medical distress.
The boy's fraternal twin brother, now 12, testified that Jonathan repeatedly asked for water and even pretended to use the bathroom in order to sneak a drink from the faucet before their stepmother ordered him out. Joseph James told jurors he was concerned for his brother's health but was too afraid of Alberson to do anything.