Raquel Nelson faced a dilemma after she was convicted of vehicular homicide in the jaywalking-related death of her 4-year-old son: She could serve a year of probation for the conviction or risk a new trial and lengthier penalty for a crime she doesn’t believe she committed.
On Tuesday, though, Nelson picked a third option. Her attorney asked the Georgia Court of Appeals to dismiss all criminal charges against Nelson, arguing that prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to charge her with any crime involving the death of her son A.J., who was struck by a hit-and-run driver as Nelson led him across the street.
“This was crossing the street with other people to get home,” defense attorney Steve Sadow told the three-judge panel. “It was unfortunate. And it was tragic. But that doesn’t make it a crime.”
Nelson was charged after A.J. was struck by a van as they jaywalked across a busy five-lane road in suburban Atlanta, and the case against her sparked outrage from activists who flooded the judge’s office with letters and gathered thousands of signatures on an online petition to support her.
She and her three children had just stepped off a bus at a stop in Marietta late on the night of April 10, 2010 to return to her apartment complex across the street. Nelson led her children to a median instead of walking to a crosswalk three-tenths of a mile away, according to court records, when her daughter darted safely across the street and her son tried to follow.
That’s when he was fatally struck by an oncoming van driven by Jerry Guy, who had been drinking earlier in the day while taking pain medication, was partially blind and had two previous hit-and-run convictions from 1997, records show.
The decision to prosecute Guy, who fled the scene, was an easy one. He pleaded guilty to hit-and-run charges and was sentenced to six months in prison. But the move to charge Nelson, the grieving mother devastated by her son’s death, struck many as overreach.
She was convicted in July of second-degree vehicular homicide, reckless conduct and jaywalking and sentenced to a year of probation. But she accepted a judge’s offer of a new trial instead. The reckless conduct charge was later dropped, but Sadow and Nelson came to court on Tuesday to request the other two charges, both misdemeanors, be dismissed as well.
He argued that prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to charge her with any criminal wrongdoing in crossing the street, and urged the court to find that the death was caused by the van’s driver and not his client’s unfortunate decision.
“She has to live with this the rest of her life,” he said. “And it’s critical that there has to be a determination that she did nothing criminally wrong.”
The court isn’t likely to make a decision for months, but Nelson said she can’t have closure until it does.
“The waiting is very hard, but hopefully this will come to an end,” she said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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