Jennifer Nelson, 36, was sentenced to 1 ⅓ to four years in prison for running over a William Floyd High School student.  Credit: Newsday/Drew Singh

A Shirley mother accused of running over a William Floyd High School student she believed had bullied her son was sentenced Friday to 1 ⅓ to 4 years in prison.

A Suffolk County jury acquitted Jennifer Nelson, 36, of attempted murder and assault following her trial in September. She was convicted her on the lesser charge of leaving the scene of an accident with serious injuries in connection with the Oct. 7, 2022, incident in Mastic Beach.

Nelson apologized for the actions that led to the run-in with victim Jonathan Gamez, 15, during her sentencing at the Arthur M. Cromarty Criminal Court Complex in Riverhead.

“It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I apologize for everything that happened,” she said.

Suffolk Supreme Court Justice Timothy Mazzei said he imposed the maximum sentence because Nelson did not accept responsibility for the actions that led to serious injuries to the teen.

A probation report prepared before to sentencing said Nelson said her Honda Passport had struck a large rock, and not a person, before she fled from the parking lot of a Manhattan Bagel store. Mazzei said on Friday Nelson, who testified in her own defense, and every other witness but one lied during their testimony.

Defense attorney Katherine Fernandez called the sentence excessive and said Nelson would file an appeal. Fernandez said Mazzei abused his authority by imposing the maximum sentence for a nonviolent felony for Nelson, who does not have a prior criminal record. Assistant District Attorney Veronica McMahon abused her office’s authority by seeking the maximum penalty, she added.

“Jennifer Nelson was punished simply because she exercised her constitutional right to go to trial,” Fernandez said following Friday’s sentencing hearing.

Fernandez said that Nelson does not remember saying that she thought she had struck a rock and not Gamez. She called the incident an accident.

“Some people are not good with their words,” Fernandez said. “What she was trying to say, which is what she said from the beginning, was that it was never her intention to hit or hurt anyone that day.”

Gamez suffered a fractured pelvis, six broken ribs, a collapsed lung and a retinal hemorrhage as a result of the incident, according to McMahon.

Gamez and his mother attended Friday’s hearing but did not address the court. They also declined to speak to reporters after the sentencing.

The jury deliberated for less than four hours before acquitting Nelson of the two top charges following the trial in September.

Nelson was accused of running over Gamez two hours after she was captured on video threatening a group of teens who had stolen her son's designer footwear. Video evidence played at trial showed Nelson holding a knife and telling the teens “Your life is ended” after her son contacted her about being assaulted outside a Dunkin' adjacent to the school during school hours.

Prosecutors presented cellphone and surveillance video of the attack on Nelson's son in addition to her confrontation with the teens. Nelson's son testified at trial that he never got back his Adidas Ye slides, popular designer footwear, and an AirPod taken from him the morning of the attack. He said he suffered a broken nose and concussion as he was punched and kicked by the group of five or six classmates who attacked him shortly after 7 a.m.

“These kids that don’t respect school, they don’t respect authority, they didn’t respect this courtroom when they lied to the judge and the jury, that is who the people based their case on, and who the people want to now punish my client and put her out to dry for 1 ⅓ to four years,” Fernandez said.

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