Stepmom didn't mean for boy to die, she testified - Dallas News |

Stepmom didn't mean for boy to die, she testified

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The woman on trial for child abuse testified about the days leading up to her stepson's dehydration death.

Both the defense and the prosecution rested their cases Thursday afternoon. First, Tina Alberson took the stand and under cross examination again tried to reiterate that she had given 10-year-old Jonathan James some water.

But according to the medical examiner that was physically impossible because the autopsy showed there was not a drop of urine in his bladder when he died.

Also Thursday Jonathan's twin brother Joseph described a home where there wasn't a lot of room for error. Severe punishments were common.

He said he remembers Jonathan asking for water on a hot July day in 2011, but that he was in trouble so he couldn't get it. He was too scared to help.

"Jonathan was acting like he was using the bathroom, but then he started drinking out of the faucet and then Tina went over and told him to get out of the bathroom and go back to the tack," Joseph James said.

"The tack" was a form of punishment where a tack was placed in the wall and the children were asked to reach for it even though it was too high, prosecutors said.

Michael James, who is also facing charges for his son's death, testified he suspected his son wasn't getting enough water and that he told his wife to give him some, but she would follow him into the kitchen and prevent him from doing that.

He is disabled and legally blind.

Alberson admitted she provided somewhat of a more structured environment for the boys when they were in her custody.

During most of the trial she has been quite composed. On Thursday she did tear up a bit when she said she didn't mean for the boy to die.

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