Victim’s mom frustrated over homicide by child abuse case getting pushed back
BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Stuck in the backlog of the court system for over three years is what one Berkeley County mom is experiencing after her 2-year-old son was found unresponsive under a babysitter’s watch.
Jennifer Young thought she’d finally get justice for her son, Alex, in court next month. But now, she says she’s told the case may not come up until March.
The same month her son would have turned six years old.
Back in May of 2020, Alex Young was staying with his babysitter, Stefanie Ann Johnson, when he was found face down in a backyard pool not breathing, according to her arrest warrant. As Hanahan Police investigated, they ultimately charged Johnson with homicide by child abuse, and she has been out on bond ever since. She also faces a charge of unlawfully placing a child at risk or willfully abandoning the child.
The solicitor’s office says the trial has been pushed back because the defense is still waiting for requested medical records, plus some of the expert witnesses will be out on maternity leave.
Young is frustrated with the delays.
“I’m running out of patience,” Young said.
Johnson’s attorney, Brady Vannoy at Vannoy Law Firm, says it’s not realistic to be given an exact trial date months in advance. He says COVID-19 washed out at least a year and a half’s worth of work, plus he only joined the case in March of this year.
Vannoy says the solicitor’s office and defense bar are doing everything they can to move cases along.
“I’ll never have full closure,” Young said. “Ever. But it will give me a little bit of peace. A little bit to know that she’s being punished. Because right now it’s just like we’re in limbo and my baby doesn’t have any justice and it’s not right.”
The solicitor’s office says Berkeley County doesn’t have any more trial terms the rest of the year after October and the absolute earliest this case could happen is in January.
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