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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Prosecutors say a lack of evidence forced them to dismiss an attempted kidnapping charge against a man accused of an incident at Frazier Park this Spring.
The Charlotte mother who says her son was the intended victim, says it's a warning for all parents. She's concerned the repeat offender is back on the streets.
Jerry White was charged with attempted abduction back in April. According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, White tried to take a 3-year-old boy from Frazier Park located in center city near I-77.
Police charged White with assault of a minor, and attempted abduction.
Thursday morning, August 11th, he pled guilty to the assault charge, and not guilty to the attempted kidnapping charge.
The mother of the boy says prosecutors told her they didn't have enough evidence to prove his intention was to remove her son from the park. Therefore, White was only found guilty of the assault charge.
The District Attorney's Office said the mother could not pick the suspect out of a photo lineup. However, the DA's Office did have support from an independent witness who identified White as the man at the park.
Ultimately, prosecutors said that was not enough evidence to support the attempted kidnapping charge beyond a reasonable doubt. White said he was innocent.
A judge gave White four months in jail which is the maximum sentence for assault on a minor.
Since White has been in jail since April, he has already served his sentence. By Thursday night, White had been released.
Over the phone, the little boy's mother said she has no doubt the intent of this repeat criminal – who has been arrested over 100 times in Mecklenburg County – was to kidnap her son.
"We were fighting over my son," she said. "It got all the way out in the street. He was pulling him one way and I was pulling him another. I managed to get a grip on Liam as well, and he had him around the waist and we were fighting about him and it wasn't until we fell to the ground that he released him."
Prosecutors said they couldn't prove what White's intent may have been when he touched the child.
Now the mother says she's worried now that White is roaming around. At the time of the assault, White's friends told news stations he was an alcoholic who roamed around with no real place to be.
"I'm just thinking, what do I do going forward to protect myself?," the mother said. "You know, he's out there right now."
She says it would be terrible if this type of thing occurred to another family.
"I think it's pretty obvious what someone that has a record like he does -- that he shouldn't be out in public where he can potentially harm someone," she said.