Teen accused of throwing woman into pool given home detention

Woman assaulted, thrown in North Lauderdale pool after complaining about party

NORTH LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A 16-year-old boy accused of throwing a 68-year-old woman into a swimming pool during a party appeared before a judge Tuesday morning.

Judge Carlos Rebollo ordered Leon Balfour to home detention until his next court appearance. Balfour must stay at home unless going to school, church or basketball practice.

"He's a good kid," Balfour's attorney, Paul Molle, said. "It's an unfortunate situation, but I think with time it'll pan out and we'll get to see the real kid for who he is."

Balfour can be seen on video lifting Nancy James and falling to the ground after he slips on the wet surface. The teen then lifts James once again and throws her into the pool.

"It just shouldn't happen," James said. "The kid has not evolved yet into what you're supposed to be as a human being." 

James said she is unhappy with the terms of Balfour's release.

"Yeah, he's got to go to school. He needs that. He's only 16. He needs that. Go to church? Ok. Basketball? No. And he's on a traveling team, so that's not right," she said.

Molle said his client wants to apologize to James.

"He seems to be very remorseful for the situation," Molle said. "I think he looks forward to the opportunity to address the individual face-to-face and personally apologize for the incident that's taken place."

Video shared on social media shows James entering the pool area at the Player's Place apartment complex in North Lauderdale on Saturday with her two small dogs. 

James can be seen asking partygoers to lower the level of noise at the party. An estimated 200 people were attending the party, most of them kids.

A group of people surround James, laughing and taking video with their smartphones.

"I didn't even really get to walk in and this kid comes from behind, picks me up, drops me and drags me into the pool," James said. 

James said she is on the association board of the complex and that she'd received several complaints about the noise level. 

"Kids are kids, no matter what. They're going to have parties," James said. "Just lower the music."

BSO spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said Balfour turned himself in shortly before 5 p.m. at the BSO's North Lauderdale station. He faces one count of battery on a person 65 or older.

 Herve Mompoint, who attended the party, told Local 10 News that things got crazy at the party. 

"Whatever happened just happened that day. You know, a few kids got crazy a little bit," Mompoint said. 

Party attendees can be heard screaming and laughing as they quickly ran away from the area.

"All I seen was people go running, so I run out the gate, and then I went back to see what happened and I see she like came out the pool and she was wet," Anderson Valcin said.

Deputies said James suffered bruises on her shoulder and leg and refused to go to a hospital. However, neighbors told Local 10 News that James did end up in the emergency room and was released Monday morning.

Residents at the apartment complex said they were shocked at what occurred in their community.

"First of all, I can't even believe that somebody would be allowed to act like that," Tracy Ann Simmonds said. "These young people are a little bit out of control."

James said she was doing OK Tuesday, but is still very sore. She said she is thankful for everyone who has reached out in support of her.

Balfour's mother, who is a former dispatcher for the city of Miami, accompanied her son when he turned himself in to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

He is expected back in court on June 5.

About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.