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Closing Arguments in Grandmother's trial
SCHENECTADY -- Closing arguments wrapped up today in the trial of Gloria Nelligan. She's the Schenectady grandmother accused of beating her grandson to death.
The prosecutor said this case is about one word -- torture. The defense had several different explanations about what happened to eight year-old Sha'hiim Nelligan, but noted his grandmother's consistency in her videotaped questioning by police.
Still, family members in the courtroom had to hear much of the description of how a little boy may have died and the severe injuries on his body all over again.
Tears filled the courtroom as attorneys went over the disturbing details of their cases again. For the defense, that Gloria Nelligan's eight year-old grandson Sha'hiim would act up and hurt himself, might have had an interaction with hyperactivity medication. For prosecutors, that Nelligan beat him mercilessly as punishment for stealing a pack of gum. The grandmother's attorney Mark Caruso again defended his decision to let a jury hear the evidence, particularly photos of the little boy's bruised body, saying those photos would "cause a jury to shut down on day one."
Video of Nelligan yanking Sha'hiim's head at the register was played again. Caruso said, "it's good parenting to bring your child back to the dollar general where you find out he stole something."
Prosecutors believe evidence presented proves Nelligan didn't have Sha'hiim's best interests at heart, as she first pointed the finger at her grandson's behavior before anything else. Nelligan said during her police interrogation that she attempted CPR when first responders arrived to her Mynderse Street home.
"She didn't care about his survival," said assistant district attorney Christina Tremante. "If she did, she would have cared while he was alive."
Prosecutors claim Nelligan put a sock in the boy's mouth, tied him to a chair, and beat him for hours before his death. Nelligan told police Sha'hiim fell in the shower the day he died because he was acting up. But, the prosecution said his body had already begun to fail from prolonged abuse, shown in court by bruises from dozens to hundreds of blows, according to doctors. The ADA told the judge, "she helped his limp body out of the shower because he couldn't stand anymore."
Court will reconvene Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. If she has decided her verdict, Judge Karen Drago will deliver it then. If Nelligan is found guilty, she could spent 25 years to life in prison.