SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – The grandmother found guilty of beating her grandson to death was sentenced to the maximum 25 years to life in State Prison in Schenectady County Court on Friday.
A judge found 43-year-old Gloria Nelligan guilty of second-degree Murder and first-degree Manslaughter in the death of her grandson on October 1st after what prosecutors called a "brutal, prolonged, and torturous beating."
First responders found 8-year-old Sha'iim unresponsive in their home back in February. The medical examiner determined the boy died after a 12-hour long beating at the hands of his grandmother who was his legal guardian.
Nelligan's defense argued that she was parenting the boy by trying to teach him not to steal after learning he stole a pack of gun from a local store.
Prosecutors claim she first made the boy write essays, then do pushups, and finally killed the boy during a prolonged beating, tying him to a chair and putting a sock in his mouth when he began to scream and cry.
It was an emotional morning in court on Friday as Sha'iim's biological mother, Keila Nelligan, spoke to the courtroom saying, "Jail is too good for her, my life will never be the same."
"At some point, my brothers and sisters are going to go and see my mom, I can never see Sha'iim again," she said. "My visits for him are going to be at a cemetery. He can't talk to me, he can't touch, everything is frozen."
Nelligan was emotionless during sentencing until her son DC Nelligan spoke to the court saying his mother was a good woman and her intentions were not to do the wrong thing, but teach Sha'iim life lessons.
Gloria Nelligan chose not to address the court herself, but her attorney read a letter she wrote that was filled with Bible verses, telling the court, "My way of maintaining my household was with God's laws."
After the letter was read, Judge Karen Drago said she was appalled that Nelligan continued to state her innocence in this case, and handed down the sentence 25 years to life.
The judge also said what was so disturbing about this case was that Nelligan lied to paramedics who came on the scene to help Sha'iim, preventing him from getting lifesaving treatment.