Georgia Mother Seeks To Clear Name After Convictions Relating To Son's Death

Originally published on July 26, 2011 7:47 pm

Raquel Nelson, 30, is opting for a new trial on charges relating to the 2010 death of her 4-year-old son, who died in a hit-and-run collision as the family tried to cross a Cobb County, Georgia, road.

Nelson was convicted of vehicular homicide and other charges for not using a crosswalk. The convictions carried the possibility of jail time. At the sentencing Tuesday, Judge Kathryn Tanksley gave Nelson probation, community service and the chance to opt for a new trial. reports that Nelson will seek a new trial in an attempt to clear her record.

A public outcry arose over Nelson's legal predicament after the circumstances surrounding the death of her son, A.J., came to light. The AJC describes what happened:

"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."

The AP also notes that:

"According to court records, he had been drinking earlier in the day while taking pain medication, was partially blind in one eye, and had two previous hit-and-run convictions from 1997."

Prosecutor Annamarie Baltz is quoted by the AP as saying that the state was duty bound to uphold the law by charging Nelson, but never intended to send her to jail.

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