Stepmother Gets 85 Years in Child Dehydration Case

A woman convicted in the dehydration death of her 10-year stepson was sentenced to 85 years in prison on Tuesday morning.

Tina Marie Alberson faced up to life in prison because of a previous felony conviction.

She was convicted Friday of injury to a child, a second-degree felony, in the July 2011 death of Jonathan James. The boy was denied water for days during record-high temperatures in North Texas.

During the sentencing phase Friday, the twins' grandmother Sue Shotwell testified that Jonathan couldn't understand why he was always in trouble with his stepmother.

After the sentence was announced, Shotwell spoke directly to Alberson saying Jonathan forgives her. Shotwell also thanked the jury for the length of Alberson's sentence.

Prosecutors say Alberson should spend the rest of her life behind bars. Defense attorneys are seeking the minimum five-year sentence.

Jurors deliberated on her sentence about an hour Friday before deciding to resume after the holiday weekend. It took the jury around one hour Tuesday morning to sentence Alberson.

Alberson and the boy's father, Michael James, were both charged in the 10-year-old's death. The case against James is scheduled to begin next month.

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