When a Stafford County jury this month found an autistic teenager guilty of assaulting a law enforcement officer and recommended that he spend 101 / 2 years in prison, a woman in the second row sobbed. It wasn’t the defendant’s mother. She wouldn’t cry until she reached her car. It was Teresa Champion. Champion had sat through the trial for days and couldn’t help drawing parallels between the defendant, Reginald “Neli” Latson, 19, and her son James, a 17-year-old with autism. James might have said this, she thought. James might have done that. She had fresh bruises on her body that showed that James, too, had lost his temper to the point of violence. “This is what we live with,” said Champion, of Springfield. “When they go over the edge, there is no pulling back. ”
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