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Attorney defends Hillsborough County mother facing manslaughter charge in son's drowning

Brandon Stein questions Sheriff's accusations
Posted at 5:57 PM, Oct 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-02 18:10:06-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The attorney for a mother facing charges in the deadly drowning of her 9-year-old son is defending his client and calling claims from the sheriff's office incorrect.

Tabatha Long, 28, is facing an the aggravated manslaughter charger after her son, Bentley Long, drowned in a creek in July.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says Long was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana at the time of the drowning. They also say she lied about Bentley entering the creek without her permission.

RELATED: Hillsborough Co. mother charged with aggravated manslaughter after son dies in Gibsonton creek

Long's attorney Brandon Stein was questioning Sheriff Chad Chronister's accusations on Wednesday.

"There were certain facts that were outlined last Thursday that are just not correct," Stein said.

Sheriff Chronister said Long was under the influence when she put her son on her back and walked into the deep water with him, knowing he wasn't a strong swimmer.

"Making the decision to put your child, who can't swim, on your back and walk out into deep water with a strong current was as deadly choice," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said.

Stein fired back on Wednesday.

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"This is simply not true. Bentley was able to swim," Stein said.

Chronister said Long lied about her son going into Bullfrog Creek on his own without permission.

"I would like to see before commenting on that particular fact what witness testimony they're relying upon to make that assertion," Stein said.

Stein said he was not positive about the test results showing long was under the influence.

"It's something we're going to have to investigate,” Stein said.

Finally, Chronister said Long had been to that creek before and knew the potentially dangerous conditions.

“No, she has not been inside that creek,” Stein said. “What I will say is she did not frequent the creek. I will have to see the witness testimony as it relates to whether or not she was a frequent swimmer of that creek."