An Albemarle County jury Thursday was divided over whether or not a mother withheld critical HIV medication from her teenage son. From inside the regional jail that mother speaks out with her side of the story.
Her 15-year-old son testified against her during a two day trial and she said she doesn’t know why. The trial ended in a hung jury and Thursday night, we spoke with the mom from inside the regional jail where she remains until a new trail date is set.
“I know I was giving my son his medicine, my son knows I was giving him his medicine and my kids know,” said the mother, who we are not identifying because of the sensitivity of this case and to shield her son’s identity.
She is charged with felony child neglect. During the trial, the Commonwealth's attorney said the mom regularly did not give her adopted son the medications he needed to treat his illness and that her negligence led to the worsening of his condition.
A doctor also testified that he became concerned by the child’s test results that he may not be receiving his medication. The child also testified, saying his mom hid his medication and told him to lie to doctors about taking it. The mom says she is not sure why her son would say these things.
“I really don't know, but it is something that is very painful to me and the rest of my family because we have done everything for my son,” the mother told us.
She says that includes giving him his medication every day since he was six months old. She testified to that in court, as well as her other children and other witnesses.
She explained the doctor’s findings by saying HIV patients cell counts fluctuate from day to day, and her son’s test results could have been different on other days.
Prosecutors offered the mother a plea deal that would have let her out of jail. However, the mom said she refused because she is innocent and because she loves her son and will do anything to get him back.
“I love my son. I would never ever want him to see a document and to think I didn't love him enough to fight for him,” the mom said in tears.
Right now the child is in a foster home. This mother says she and her family are not being allowed to see him. In fact, she was denied bond because she went to his school and violated a court order. She told us she didn’t realize she was violating the order. She said her daughter wanted to give her brother a gift and she thought it would be okay for her to take her daughter to see the teen at school. The Department of Social Services didn’t see it the same way however.
Thursday, the judge ordered the mother to undergo a mental evaluation.
A new trial date will be set next month. If convicted, the mother could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
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