Dehydration is not often used as a punishment, especially on one's own child, but it can be fatal. Tina Alberson, 44, of Dallas, Texas, was convicted today in the dehydration death of her 10-year-old stepson Jonathan James. She denied him water for days on end during a period of record-high temperatures, and the boy eventually succumbed to dehydration.
Alberson was convicted of injury to a child, which is a second-degree felony. During her testimony in her own defense, Alberson admitted to depriving the child of water, but saw no sign of any medical issue as a result. Jonathan's twin brother testified that he had indeed been asking for water throughout the duration of his punishment, and even went so far as to sneak into the bathroom to covertly drink from the sink. He also had said that he feared for his brother's health and safety but was too afraid of Alberson to stand up to her.
Police had initially though that Jonathan's death had been heart-related until they examined the coroner's report. Jonathan's father, Michael Ray James, 43, was mysteriously absent in reports of the testimony. He is scheduled for trial next month.