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Woman acquitted of teen alcohol charges

YORK -- Denise Ann Deese's life has been in chaos for the past four months.

In June, she was charged with providing alcohol to two underage people at a pool party. But Wednesday, a jury acquitted her on the charges. Now, the Rock Hill mother of two boys hopes to return to a normal life.

"It took a minute for it to absorb," Deese, a 36-year-old Lancaster nurse said of the jury's verdict. "I tried to rush out of the courtroom to call my son. I told him, 'Your mommy's not guilty, and I'm on my way home.'"

Police said Deese on June 28 provided alcohol for her 15-year-old niece and a 16-year-old girl as the group lounged at a pool at the apartments where Deese lived. The 15-year-old later hit a road sign and was charged with driving under the influence.

Deese faced three years for each charge, attorney Jim Boyd said.

"Her position was always that she was not guilty, that she did not furnish beer to those minors," Boyd said.

The jury agreed. Wednesday's victory brought a smile to Deese's face when she recalled the verdict Friday. Then her face clouded.

"Nobody could ever imagine the amount of stress that was put on me because of this," she said. "I cried a lot. I lost a lot of sleep the past four months."

And she lost a lot more.

"I lost my job," said Deese, who worked at a Rock Hill assisted living center. "They fired me."

Three days later, Deese was evicted from her apartment. As the months passed, her bills grew. So did her worries.

As the jury deliberated Wednesday, she pulled out a pen and paper.

"I wrote a letter to both of my children, letting them know how much I love them," said Deese, who gave the letters to her mother. "I said, 'If I go to jail, make sure they get them.'"

But she won't be going to jail. Now, she's determined to move on.

"I know in my heart with all I've lost that everything will be all right," she said. "As long as I have my boys, I'm happy."

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