A Marshall County jury has found parents not guilty of child abuse.
Yuliana Cortez Torres and Angel Torres Rodriguez were charged with one count each of child abuse and aggravated child abuse.
The jury of nine women and three men reached their verdict at 6:50 Thursday evening.
An hour and a half earlier, they told Judge Tim Jolley they were deadlocked, and he instructed them to continue to deliberate to avoid a mistrial.
The Torres were accused of abusing their two-year-old son due to bruises, bitemarks, and hairline fractures on his arms.
The child also failed to gain significant weight for over a year, but defense attorney Shane Hollaway said the child had numerous health issues that started when he was born nine weeks premature.
Yuliana Torres testified her son often hit his head against things and bit himself.
She, Angel, and several jurors broke into tears as Hollaway’s wife Christie and bailiff Steve Connoly translated the verdict into Spanish.
“I got the result that was just,” Hollaway said.
“I’ve been representing this family for over a year in juvenile court and different areas. We did a lot of soul searching in this case and I give God the credit for this victory.”
This is the longest trial of Hollaway’s 14 year career, which included two years working for the Marshall County District Attorney’s Office.
District attorney Steve Marshall said the state put on the best case they could have, and said he is concerned for the safety of the child once the parents regain custody.
The toddler and his four brothers are in foster care.
“I think the children will be 100 percent okay and well when mom and dad are home,” Hollaway said.
“You can imagine there’s relief. They still have some issues that we’re going to deal with, but the light at the end of the tunnel has been reached, and there’s a great distinct possibility the family will be reunited very soon.”
The Torres remain in jail on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.