Raquel Nelson, whose case got national attention when she was charged with vehicular homicide in her son's death, listens during the hearing at Cobb County State Court in Marietta on Wednesday, October 5, 2011.
A Cobb County mother accused of vehicular homicide in the hit-and-run death of her 4-year-old son will begin on Tuesday appealing a judge’s decision not to dismiss all of the charges against her.
Raquel Nelson’s attorney will give oral arguments to the Georgia Court of Appeals, requesting that the appellate court review a ruling by Cobb County State Court Judge Katherine Tanksley in October.
Nelson's attorney, Steve Sadow, had asked Tanksley to throw out charges of vehicular manslaughter and crossing outside of a crosswalk against Nelson, whose son, A.J. Newman, was killed when he pulled away from his mother to cross a busy Cobb County road last year.
A jury in July convicted Nelson of three charges -- second-degree vehicular homicide, crossing roadway elsewhere than at crosswalk and reckless conduct. Tanksley offered Nelson the unusual choice of 12 months' probation or a new trial.
Nelson chose a retrial, stating that she didn’t want to be held criminally responsible for A.J.’s death.
Tanksley later dismissed the reckless conduct charge but let the other two counts stand. It's that decision that Sadow will appeal on Tuesday.
“The issue is whether the evidence introduced in the first trial was enough to convict,” Sadow told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “If the Court of Appeals finds the evidence was insufficient to convict … that would end the case.”
A.J. was killed on the night of April 10, 2010, as he arrived home on the bus after a day out with Nelson and her two daughters, one a toddler.
After getting off the bus around 9 p.m., Nelson chose to take her children directly across Austell Road, rather than walking a half mile in either direction to a lighted crosswalk before walking back to her apartment.
They crossed to the median, where Nelson waited with her children and other bus riders for traffic to clear, according to police records and testimony.
But when Nelson’s older daughter ran to the sidewalk ahead of her, A.J. followed his sister, darting into the path of an oncoming van driven by Jerry L. Guy.
Guy’s van sped up, witnesses testified in the trial, and hit A.J., along with Nelson, who was holding her toddler while trying to save A.J. Neither Nelson nor the toddler were seriously injured.
Guy served six months in jail, while Nelson faces a jail sentence of up to three years.
A Nov. 28 court date was put on hold until the appellate court considers the case.
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