Friday a jury acquitted a Greene County woman whose infant son died of heat exposure after she left him in her car for several hours while she worked.
Raelyn Alene Balfour, 36 years old, was acquitted in Charlottesville Circuit Court of an involuntary manslaughter charge in the death last March of 9-month-old Bryce Balfour.
The jury returned its verdict after deliberating for about 90 minutes. If convicted, she faced up to 10 years in prison.
An investigation concluded that Balfour left Bryce in her car after reporting to work at the University of Virginia. He was found dead that afternoon.
After the verdict, Balfour thanked the community for its support and pledged to spread awareness about the dangers of leaving children in cars.
Balfour, who is now pregnant, faced a jury for the first time Wednesday. Thursday, Balfour's babysitter, her husband and her boss all said that Balfour gave her all to her job and taking care of her son. They said that the baby boy's death was a tragic accident. They also said she's suffered extreme sorrow since the loss of her son.
Thursday, the prosecution tried to prove that Raelyn Balfour acted negligently, and that she should be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. It was revealed in court that Balfour had a 29-minute phone call with her nephew the day she forgot to drop off her child to the babysitter. Her nephew testified that he was on the phone with her about his gambling problem and what the family should do about it.
There was a dispute about her cell phone record and if she were neglectful of her babysitter's phone calls while at work. Calls from the babysitter started around 9:40 a.m. as records show, but the defense and the prosecution argued about what's listed on the records as "forwarded, no number", which is voicemail.
The prosecution said Balfour was listening to her voicemail while the defense maintains that's when the voicemail was recorded to the phone but that Balfour wasn't listening to them until about 4 p.m. That's when records show a call between she and the babysitter. Then, there's a call to 911.
The jury was instructed to consider whether or not they believe the prosecution or the defense about the phone records.