But what led Balfour to lash out at an elderly woman who he didn’t even know? Well, needless to say, his “reason” for doing so was completely unjustified and just plain horrific.
The teenager was at a pool party with friends when James approached the large group of youths and asked them to turn the music down. But instead of complying with her pefectly reasonable request, they turned on her in a horrific scene of abuse.
Balfour’s friends encouraged him to “throw her in” the pool, and he responded by picking her up and body slamming her to the ground, and then dragging both her and her dog into the pool.
After the attack, Balfour’s mother convinced him to turn himself into the police. The whole situation must have been such a painful ordeal for James, but she has handled it incredibly. Balfour apologized to his victim for the damage he had caused, and James proved herself to be a very forgiving person as she begged Judge Elijah Williams not to be too hard on him. She even suggested community service as an appropriate punishment.
As a result of her pleas, Balfour was sentenced to 200 hours of community service, a weekday curfew of 8pm and a weekend curfew of 6pm.
Judge Williams made sure to remind Balfour just how lucky he was to get a lenient sentence by referring to him as a “dead man walking”.
In response to the sentencing, Balfour said, “I mean this from the bottom of my heart that I had no intention of inflicting any pain or harm on you” and Leon’s mother Shekita Johnson also expressed her apologies for what her son had done.
Before leaving court, James turned to Balfour and said:
“What he did was a very cruel thing. Very cruel. Very inhuman. 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.”
What Balfour did to James was undeniably sadistic and there are many people who would deem his actions unforgivable. However, James found it in her heart to forgive the teenager and give him a second chance at life. With any luck, he truly has seen the error of his ways and will be a better person because of it.