DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A mother accused of killing her 6-year-old son and leaving him to decompose in the woods of DeKalb County has decided not to take the stand in her own defense.
Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes has been covering the trial since it began last week.
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Black’s attorneys had planned to put her on the stand, but Black told the judge Monday that she will not be testifying in the case.
Teresa Black is accused of killing her son, William Hamilton, in 1999. The boy’s remains were not identified until 2022, when a family friend recognized the child from a sketch based on the remains.
Matthew McLendon was one of two investigators who flew to Arizona in 2022 to interview Black and collect her DNA to prove she was Hamilton’s mother.
Black has admitted to leaving her son’s body in the woods 23 years ago, but said they were homeless and not eating enough food when she gave him some medication that night and he didn’t wake up. Black said she panicked and left Georgia.
Black admitted to detectives before the trial that she lied to friends and family about her son’s whereabouts for more than two decades, but said it has bothered her ever since.
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When investigators put all the evidence together, the District Attorney’s office ended up charging Black with felony murder, cruelty to children and concealing her son’s death.
But on day 4 of the trial, Monday morning, one of the defense attorneys said that the charges are too harsh, because even though forensic investigators believe WIliam died from a toxic level of medication in his system, there’s no concrete evidence to prove it.
“Teresa is only guilty of this charge if she acted maliciously, meaning with the intent in the cruelty to children charge , with the intent to cause that severe injury,” defender Ryan Bozarth said.
Defense attorneys are still trying to get the judge to bring the charges down a notch.
The evidence did show that William had a fracture in his skull. The defense said animals did it, but the state believes Black was abusing the child. It’s difficult to tell because of how decomposed the child’s remains were.