Trial For Pike County Mother Charged With Manslaughter Begins

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Prosecutors say a Pike County mother should be locked up. They claim her son drowned because she wasn't watching him. Four year old Josh Justice died in July of 2005. Now, his mother Rhonda Justice, is on trial for second degree manslaughter.

It's been almost two years since four year old Josh Justice drowned, but recalling that day stirred strong emotions. Prosecutors described Josh Justice as developmentally challenged with both physical and mental problems and say he required 24 hour supervision.

"She came nowhere close to providing the supervision he required and needed," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Wayne Taylor.

The Commonwealth's Attorney says the boy's mother, Rhonda Justice, wasn't watching him on the day he died. They played a next door neighbor's home surveillance video showing him outside alone just two hours before he was found dead. On the tape, Josh is screaming for his mother. Prosecutors say she was inside passed out. Jurors watched about 30 minutes of the boy screaming. It was too much for Rhonda Justice.

Dorothy Billiter lives down the road from Justice. She testified she found the boy in her next door neighbor's swimming pool.

"I just saw his little body floating in the pool, only he was face down," Billiter said.

She says her husband pulled him out.

"Paul tried to do CPR and I was just standing there praying that the baby wasn't dead," Billiter said.

Prosecutors argue Rhonda Justice should be held responsible for his death. The defense hasn't told her side of the story yet.

Defense attorneys chose to not make any opening statements.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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