Childrearing

Outrageous! Mother Of Boy Killed In Hit-And-Run Convicted Of Homicide

By  | 

A few years ago my cousin came to visit me with her two boys. We live in the city and they live in a more suburban environment. My heart came close to stopping as her oldest wrangled free from her and darted across busy Pennsylvania Avenue into traffic. It was horrible. Had something happened, she could have been charged with a crime.

A Cobb County, Georgia, mother of three was charged with and convicted of homicide by vehicle in the second degree, crossing roadway elsewhere than at crosswalk and reckless conduct after her 4-year-old wrangled free from her as the family was crossing the street. She was sentenced to 12 months probation — 6 months more than the driver who killed the boy and then fled got.

Raquel Nelson was trying to cross a four lane road with her children after getting off of a transit buss near her apartment. A.J., her four year old son, was struck by a car and killed. Nelson and her younger daughter were injured as well.

When she was put on trial, she faced a maximum sentence of 36 months. Even though she was sentenced this week, she’s been offered a new trial. The mother isn’t defending her actions that led to her son’s death but wonders about the fairness of the trial:

Nelson said she and her children crossed Austell Road outside a crosswalk because the nearest one was .3 mile away, and she was “trying to hurry up and get home so we wouldn’t have to be in the dark.”

She said that she had accepted that [driver Jerry] Guy, who had also been convicted of similar charges in 1997, served only six months for striking and killing her son, then fleeing the scene.

“Even though he has had a history of it, nobody gets up that day and says, ‘I’m going to kill a 4-year-old,’” Nelson said.

“However, to come after me so much harder than they did him is a slap in the face,” she said.

She said that she didn’t think that the jury that convicted her “could relate to what I was going through. All of the jurors stated they’ve never ridden public transportation, and they’ve never really been in my shoes, so I think there was maybe not a jury of peers.”

When Americans heard about the trial, many asked the court for leniency. A petition posted to change.org had garnered more than 116,000 signatures by Monday.