BROWARD (CBSMiami) – A Broward teenager who’s charged with battery after a 68-year-old woman was thrown in a pool went before a judge in Fort Lauderdale and a date was set for a plea.
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench spoke with the teen’s mother, Shekita Johnson, who actually turned her son into the authorities.
Wednesday afternoon, Circuit Judge Elijah Williams commended her in court for doing that.
“I think every parent has to be a role model and you want children to listen to you and lead as an example. You have to set that example for your kids and others to do the right thing,” Johnson said.
Johnson told D’Oench that her son is remorseful and feels terrible about what happened.
Detectives said surveillance tape shows her son, Leon Balfour Joseph, picking up 68-year-old Nancy James. They both fall to the ground. Then he drags her to the pool and tosses her in, all while a crowd cheers.
“I’m very hurt and upset by these circumstances. I didn’t raise my son to do that. My main concern right now is to make sure she is doing well and to see if my son can get beyond this,” Johnson said.
James is a board member at the Players Place complex in North Lauderdale. She said this happened when the music at an unauthorized social media pool party got too loud. She walked to the pool with her dogs to ask them to turn down the music.
In the video, you can see her leashed pets. One is nearly dragged into the water with her.
Johnson’s son, who is now 17, is charged with battery on a person 65 or older. He plans to take a plea. The judge set July 11th for a plea date.
“We are in the process of finalizing and negotiating and we hope to finish it up,” the teen’s attorney, Michael Hersey, said.
Balfour Joseph’s attorney did not allow him to speak but his mother and attorney both insist he regrets what happened.
“That’s the one thing he has said since surrendering. He said can ‘I apologize to the lady,’ but the system unfortunately doesn’t let you do that right away, but there will be a day when this is done and we are looking forward to that,” Hersey said.
Johnson added, “He is very remorseful. He was remorseful at the time I turned him in. He wanted to contact the victim and apologize for that and let her know he is very sorry.”
Because of the pending plea, James did not want to respond.
Johnson’s son is charged as a juvenile.
Johnson, who works as a supervisor in the 911 call center at the Miami Police Department, comes in contact with a lot of crime stories when she goes to work and says she has special sympathy for victims.