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Stepmum gets 85 years for boy's dehydration death

13:59 Wed Jan 23 2013
AAP

A US woman whose 10-year-old stepson died after she refused to give him water during a heatwave has been sentenced to 85 years in jail.

Tina Marie Alberson, 44, was found guilty of injury to a child by a Dallas jury today.

Jonathan James died on July 25, 2011 after being denied water for five days.

Prosecutors had sought a life sentence for Alberson, but jurors found she acted recklessly rather than maliciously in depriving the boy of water.

Alberson, who reportedly showed no emotion as she was sentenced, denied causing Jonathan's death during the record heatwave.

The boy died during a period when the mercury hovered around 37C for three consecutive days, leading police to believe the death was heat-related.

A Dallas medical examiner later found Jonathan had been deprived of water for five days before he collapsed and died.

The boy's father, Michael Ray James, 43, will face court on the same charge next month.