The 21-year-old parents of an emaciated baby boy whose life may have been saved last year by a quick-thinking teenager went on trial Tuesday morning in district court.
Justin Lee Alston and Brittany N. Oliphant-Alston are each facing a first-degree felony charge of injury to a child with intentional serious bodily injury. Both have pleaded not guilty.
The couple was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on Dec. 9 of last year, after a 911 call was placed by Magon Rutledge, who was attending a party at the couple’s Sandy Beach home. Rutledge was among the witnesses sworn in Tuesday morning by District Judge Ralph Walton.
Rutledge phoned for help after she found an emaciated Riley Alston allegedly covered in urine, feces and vomit.
“The whole room smelled like a dead animal,” District Attorney Rob Christian told the six-woman, seven-man jury, which includes one alternate.
In his opening statements, Christian said that baby Riley, who had weighed between 15 and 16 pounds at his 4-month check-up, weighed between 8 and 9 pounds when paramedic Paul Fuller arrived on the scene.
Christian said that when Fuller demanded that the baby be taken immediately to the hospital, Justin Alston threatened to leave with the baby.
Alston is being represented by attorney Pam Walker, and his wife is being defended by Cole Bryant. Both are court-appointed. Walker told the jury that baby Riley is “thriving,” and that he was suffering from acid reflux at the time he and his sister were removed from the home.
The Alstons could face 99 years in prison.
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