Granbury, TX - These two were sentenced earlier this month, but I totally missed the story and figured I’d post an article that ends on a good note for change. Justin and Brittany Alston, both 21-years-old, were sentenced to 60 years in prison after teens notified an adult that the couple were starving their 9-month-old baby.
Last December, several teenagers were at a party at the Alstons’ mobile home when they heard Riley crying. When Justin refused to check on his son, a 17-year-old at the party went into the boy’s room and found him emaciated and lying in urine, feces and vomit. His skin was flaking off his body, his bones were showing through his skin, and one of his socks had fused to his foot.
“I was furious and I was shaking and I was breathing hard and I was trying to be as gentle as I could with this baby because I felt like if I just moved a certain way this baby would break. He was so fragile and little,” Magon Rutledge said. “He had these big blue eyes and they were so bright but the rest of him was just like he was gone.”
Rutledge had her cousin call his dad, a paramedic, and Riley was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Doctor’s weren’t sure Riley would survive as his body was rejecting food. It’s believed he hadn’t been properly fed in almost two months. Riley was placed on an IV and everyone hoped for the best.
When police questioned the couple, they admitted they were more interested in drinking and smoking pot with their friends than taking care of Riley. When asked why they didn’t take Riley to the hospital when it was obvious he was in medical distress, Brittany said she had more important things to do.
“Brittany told investigators when she was asked why she didn’t feed this baby she said that she had other things to do, like getting the oil changed in the car,” Hood County District Attorney Robert Christian said.
The couple were arrested and charged with injury to a child and abandoning or endangering a child. Brittany’s 18-month-old daughter was placed in foster care, and her 4-year-old daughter was placed in the care of her maternal grandmother.
Like most babies who are fed, Riley was quite resilient and rebounded quickly. He and his older sister were placed in a foster home where he has fattened up quite nicely. You can see for yourself in the following before-and-after pictures.
“The foster mother is not a nurse. All she did was feed this baby,” Christian said. “The only difference between the pictures is a few months and food.”
The couple eventually went to trial, which turned out to be a big mistake on their part. The jury convicted them both on the charges and had a wide range of sentencing options, ranging from probation to life in prison. It only took the jury 40 minutes to sentence the couple to 60 years in prison.