Jury reaches verdict against woman accused of killing 6-year-old son in decades-old cold case

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A DeKalb County jury has returned its verdict against a woman accused of killing her 6-year-old son more than 20 years ago.

Teresa Black is accused of killing her son William Hamilton and leaving him to decompose in the woods of DeKalb County in 1999. Hamilton’s remains were found six months after his death in 1999, but his identity remained a mystery until a break in the case in 2022.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes has been following the trial at the DeKalb County Courthouse and learned that the jury reached a verdict just after 1:30 p.m.

The jury found Black not guilty of felony murder, cruelty to children and aggravated assault charges. The jury did find Black guilty of concealing her son’s death.


Black admitted that she left the child dead in the woods and investigators said she lied to family and friends about where he was. Black claims the child’s death was due to an accidental overdose of medication and that she did not mean to harm him.

Public defenders who are representing Black said they understand that no one has much sympathy for Black, but they asked that the jury consider that Black was a young mother who was homeless, alone, and didn’t know what to do when her son got sick.

The state said Black gave William a lethal dose of medication, but none of the doctors who testified could say if that was the cause of death or not because William’s body was too badly decomposed.

In a news conference after the verdict was announced, DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said her office still believes Black is responsible for her son’s death.

Fernandes spoke to two jurors who weren’t exactly happy about acquitting Black, but they said their job was to consider the evidence, not to judge Black’s decision.

“Yeah, it was emotional for all of us,” Nathan Mittleman said.”There was one lady who was crying in the jury room. We all wanted to see things go differently, but at the end of the day ... we had to go with what the law was.”

Sentencing is scheduled for Friday morning. Black could face anywhere between one and 10 years for the charge of concealing a death.

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