Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
Unlike on previous occasions, it was tears of relief for Jenise Regisford in the St James Circuit Court yesterday as she walked away a free woman.
A seven-member jury, which deliberated for one hour and 55 minutes, returned a not-guilty verdict.
Regisford, a United States-based counsellor, was on trial for the alleged kidnapping of a three-year-old child from a Montego Bay preparatory school.
Her three co-defendants had previously pleaded guilty to child stealing. Two were sentenced to jail time and one to probation.
"Miss Regisford, the jury has found you not guilty on the charge of kidnapping, and you are free to go," presiding High Court Judge Jennifer Straw informed her.
"Thank you," Regisford said, as tears of relief flowed down her face.
Attorney-at-law Martyn Thomas, who represented Regisford, said she was not surprised by the verdict "because Miss Regisford insisted on her innocence from day one".
"She gave her evidence in the witness box, which she did not have to do, and endured cross-examination," said Thomas.
"I have confidence in the jury's decision, and that it was made based on the evidence presented to them," the attorney added.
Regisford and three other persons were arrested and charged after a three-year-old Mount Alvernia Kindergarten and Preparatory School student was abducted from the school premises while waiting to be picked up by his parents.
The child was later found unharmed at premises in Manchester.