Alleghany County Court dismisses felony charge against dad in connection to toddler’s death

ALLEGHANY COUNTY, Va. – A father walked out of Alleghany County Court without a conviction after a two-day retrial in connection with his son’s death.

Benjamin Jacobsen has faced a felony charge after his two-year-old accidentally shot himself with Jacobsen’s gun.

Tearful Harrisonburg church supporters hugged Jacobsen after leaving the Alleghany County Courthouse on Friday afternoon.

Jacobsen was facing a child endangerment charge in connection with his son’s death.

[READ MORE: 2-year-old shot, killed at Alleghany County campground]

In June 2020, Jacobsen’s two-year-old son accidentally shot himself with Jacobsen’s gun which was under an air mattress while camping near Moomaw Lake.

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After two days of reviewing the evidence, a dozen jurors were sent to deliberate, but after deliberating twice, the jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision.

“We were deadlocked,” said Pat Harrison, one of the jurors. “And that wasn’t going to change. We went around the table several times and everyone gave their reasons.

As a father who lost a son, Harrison said he couldn’t send Jacobsen to jail.

“You think about it all the time,” Harrison said. “It’s not really a punishment. It’s the sadness you carry with you. I don’t see this man going to jail and having to sit there and think about it.

Thursday, 13 jurors were selected. The 13th juror was chosen to be a backup in case one of the other jurors fell ill. However, Judge Ed Stein dismissed the 13th juror before the first round of jury deliberation on Friday morning.

After two hung juries, Aaron Cook, Jacobsen’s attorney, asked that the felony charge be dismissed.

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Commonwealth prosecutors instead asked the judge to declare the case a mistrial.

The judge eventually granted Cook’s request.

Cook tells 10 News that “the family hasn’t been able to cry since losing their son” and said they called the outcome “wonderful” and a sign that “the justice system worked”.

Harrison tells us he had no idea this was the second time Jacobsen was on trial for the incident and said it was one of the toughest cases he has ever had to oversee.

Copyright 2022 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.

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