The Supreme Court of Georgia has denied a Marietta woman’s petition to look at whether the vehicular homicide law can be applied to pedestrians.
Raquel Nelson was charged in April 2010 after her 4-year-old son, A.J. Newman, was struck and killed by a drunken driver as she and the boy were crossing Austell Road near Somerpoint Apartments in Marietta.
The Supreme Court decision was made Monday with a 4-2 vote.
“While we certainly would have liked the Supreme Court to review the vehicular homicide statute application to pedestrians, we now look forward to being back before the trial judge with the intention to retry Ms. Nelson’s case,” Nelson’s attorney, Steve Sadow, said Wednesday.
A jury found Nelson guilty of second-degree vehicular homicide, jaywalking and reckless conduct in July 2011.
Sadow petitioned the Supreme Court after the Georgia Court of Appeals denied his argument that there wasn’t enough evidence to go through with a new trial this past fall.
According to police records, Nelson had just gotten off a bus along the five-lane Austell Road and reportedly led her three children across the median, instead of walking to a crosswalk three-tenths of a mile away.
Jerry Guy of Marietta, who had been drinking earlier in the day and was also on pain medication, hit the youngest child.
He pleaded guilty to hit-and-run and was sentenced to six months in prison. He had two previous hit-and-run convictions in 1997.
Nelson was sentenced to a year’s probation and 40 hours community service but was offered the option of a new trial, which she later accepted. In October 2011, she appealed the charges in Cobb State Court, during which Judge Kathryn Tanksley agreed to dismiss the reckless conduct charge. In spring of 2012, she filed an appeal with the Georgia Court of Appeals for insufficient evidence, which was denied in September.
A date for the new trial still has not been set.
New problems for mother
Nelson was arrested again this past August on charges of fleeing from police, speeding, expired/no tag and illegal window tint, all misdemeanors.
According to Cobb Police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce, two motorcycle officers on Cobb Parkway measured her as driving 64 mph in a 45-mile-per-hour zone.
The officers motioned her to pull over, but she drove around them and pulled into the campus of Southern Polytechnic State University. Officers began searching the area when construction workers pointed them towards the back part of a parking lot, where they found her parked behind another vehicle.
The four justices in the majority opinion were Hugh Thompson, Harris Hines, Harold Melton and David Nahmias.
Justices Carol Hunstein and Robert Benham were not in favor of denying the request, and Justice Keith Blackwell did not participate in the vote.