VALDOSTA — A Lowndes County jury found a woman not guilty Wednesday in the death of her grandmother, according to the Southern District Attorney's Office.
Amy Jeanette Auve, 42, was found not guilty in the 2017 death of her 86-year-old grandmother, Carmen Colorado. Jurors deliberated about 30 minutes before returning with the verdict in Lowndes County Superior Court.
Auve was arrested in February in Texas after a Lowndes County Grand Jury indicted her on a malice murder charge in the March 2017 death of Colorado.
Auve took the stand Wednesday to defend herself.
Defense attorney Rex Wisenbaker asked for Auve to lead the jury through the day her grandmother died March 22, 2017. Auve choked up as she described seeing her grandmother collapsed on the ground.
"I went to her side and I said 'Abuela,'" Auve said. "It was like she was trying to get up. I told her I was going to get help."
Wisenbaker asked her if she killed her grandmother, and she said she didn't and that she loved her.
Assistant Southern District Attorney Tracy Chapman questioned Auve on her multiple contradicting stories about what happened the day her grandmother died.
"What story do we have today?" Chapman asked.
Auve and Chapman spoke over one another until Southern Circuit Judge James Hardy ordered one person speak at a time.
In closing arguments, Wisenbaker said there was no reason for Auve to kill her grandmother. He said the state had no evidence and couldn't meet the standard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
"There is no way she would have profited from her death," Wisenbaker said. "There is no motive."
In closing, Chapman asked the jury to consider whether Auve had a reason to lie to them.
She said Auve had already told five different stories about what happened the day her grandmother died. Chapman said inconsistencies included whether she saw her grandmother fall down.
In Auve's first police interview, she told police she was sitting on the patio when her grandmother collapsed. In a later interview, she told police she was away from the house at a shed getting a bathing suit.
The defense said Auve was under a great deal of stress during her first interview and couldn't be expected to remember every detail.
"I didn't think I would have to defend myself for something I didn't do," Auve said.
The state's case was based on a report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation ruling Colorado's death a homicide. An autopsy revealed bruising around her neck along with blunt-force trauma, according to court testimony.
However, Wisenbaker called an expert witness who testified those kinds of injuries are common for people who have to have a breathing tube put down their throat. Colorado was still alive when first responders arrived and attempted three times to insert a breathing tube, the witness stated.