DALLAS - Taking the stand Thursday in a trial against his stepmother, the twin sibling of a boy who died from dehydration said he watched his brother pretend to use the restroom so he could drink water.
"He turned on the water and was using his hands like a cup to drink," Joseph James, 12, told jurors in Dallas.
Prosecutors say Jonathan James, who was 10 years old at the time of his death in July of 2011, died from dehydration after his stepmother, Tina Alberson, denied him water as punishment over a weekend period.
James said his brother was placed in timeouts in which he was forced to stand in one place several times in the days leading up to his death.
"He would be asking for water and she would say no because he was in trouble," the boy said.
Alberson appeared to wipe away tears during much of the boy's testimony.
James later described his brother's appearance the day they tried saving his life after days of the punishment.
"He looked exhausted," James said. "He didn't look like the normal kid that I knew. He looked different."
The testimony was made on day two of the trial that began with prosecutors playing a tape of an interrogation with Alberson by a Dallas police detective. In the recording, she admitted to limiting fluids.
Alberson, who was charged with injury to a child causing serious bodily harm, told police she restricted water as punishment for a number of reasons, including when the boy didn't eat his food or wet his bed.