A Florida grandmother and the teenager who body slammed her and dragged her into a pool finally came face to face in a courtroom.
Nancy James had much to say to 16 year-old Leon Balfour at his sentencing in July, months after the teen turned himself in following the traumatic incident.
“What he did was a very cruel thing. Very cruel. Very inhumane,” the 68 year-old told the court, according to Inside Edition.
Video from the incident in May showed James asking Balfour, and other teens at a pool party near her house in North Lauderdale, to lower the volume on the music they were playing. Balfour then picked the woman up and slammed her into the ground, though it was not clear if he intentionally dropped her or he slipped.
Frail elderly woman body-slammed and thrown into pool with dog for asking partiers to turn down music | BizPac Rev https://t.co/k0Wt5e2n6I
— sonja (@sonjaeversman) May 8, 2017
The shocking footage then showed the teen pick up and nearly drag James to the pool where he threw her in. The elderly woman, who had just undergone hip and heart procedures, was still holding her dogs’ leashes.
Charged with battery, Balfour was sentenced to 200 hours community service and a nightly curfew thanks to his victim, who asked the judge to spare the teen the deserved jail time.
“You have so much ahead of you. You’re a young kid. You’ve got college. You got hopes. You got dreams, and you know what, unfortunately, this will follow you, forever,” James told the young man directly.
Judge Elijah Williams agreed.
“For the rest of his life when they Google his name, that video is going to pop up, so essentially, he’s a dead man walking,” he said.
Balfour’s mother tearfully apologized to James in the courtroom.
“I just want to apologize to you for what my son did. I didn’t raise my child that way,” Shekita Johnson, said as James told her, “You didn’t do it.”
The teen was then able to address the grandmother directly.
“I mean this from the bottom of my heart that I had no intention of inflicting any pain or harm on you,” he said, reading an apology.
In an amazing display of compassion, James saw a teenager who had a promising future despite committing a stupid, thoughtless and cruel act. Her request to the judge kept the high school student out of jail but committed him to 200 hours of community service and an 8pm curfew on weekdays and 6pm on weekends.
The judge directed Balfour to spend 100 hours of the community service time working with the elderly and ordered the teen to pay James $200 for her cellphone which was damaged when it fell in the pool with her.
On the way out of the courtroom, the grandmother gave the teen one last finger-wagging reprimand, followed by an affectionate grabbing of his chin for a moment.
Hopefully Balfour will get the message and realize how the feisty woman’s compassion spared him a far worse fate.
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