SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The Schenectady grandmother accused of beating her grandson to death appeared in Schenectady County Court for her arraignment on Friday.
Gloria Nelligan, 43, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in connection to the death of her grandson, 8-year-old Sha'hiim Nelligan.
Sha'hiim was found unresponsive at the family's Mynderse Avenue home in late February. According to police, Sha'hiim was killed after a "prolonged beating." Nelligan was the boy's legal guardian.
Authorities had initially charged her with manslaughter, but District Attorney Robert Carney explained further medical testing revealed Sha'hiim suffered a sustained beating that occurred over a 24-hour period, leading to the murder charge.
In court Friday, the incident was referred to as "torture."
"I've never seen anything like this. We have to understand, this isn't corporal punishment. This was beating so severe that his blood went pretty exclusively to his bruised and battered tissue," said Carney. "Sha'hiim died of hypovolemic shock, which is basically a loss of blood circulation from the circulatory system into the bruised tissue. It was extensive on his back, torso, buttocks, the back of his thighs, to the point that it impaired his circulation causing cerebral edema of the brain and ultimately failure of the heart."
"We believe he was beaten with several implements,
including some sort of wooden back scratcher and hair brush and other items
that were around the house," said Carney.
In court prosecutors asked for, and were granted, orders
"She has three young daughters, teen or preteens
that are now in custody of her older son," said Carney.
Nelligan's public defender declined
to comment after the court proceedings.