FREEHOLD - Jurors deliberated Thursday for five hours behind closed doors in the case against the Toms River woman accused of shaking a 14-month-old boy to death.
Michelle Heale, a mother of two, is accused of killing her friend's son Mason Hess while she was baby-sitting him in 2012. She is charged with murder and endangering the welfare of a child.
Jurors have heard two very different accounts concerning the death of Hess. Prosecutors have argued that Heale shook Hess so violently that he had lacerations to his brain and spinal damage.
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However, Heale denies shaking Hess. She maintains he was choking on applesauce and that she tried to help him.
Heale and her attorneys have been fighting the charges, questioning the diagnosis of the baby at the time of his death, and criticizing some doctors who are advisors for the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome.
If jurors don't convict on the charge of murder, they can consider lesser charges of aggravated and reckless manslaughter.