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Verdict in beating death of 8-year-old boy
SCHENECTADY -- A grandmother has been found guilty of both murder and manslaughter after hearing the evidence. A judge decided Tuesday that Sha'hiim Nelligan died after being beaten repeatedly by Gloria Nelligan.
She tried covering her face walking in to court as if to avoid something waiting for her. Gloria Nelligan's fate rested with a judge, who found her responsible for the beating death of her eight year-old grandson Sha'hiim.
"I should have been able to trust my mom with my kid," said Sha'hiim's biological mother, Keila Nelligan. Gloria Nelligan took custody of Sha'hiim when he was a toddler. "I don't hate her. It's horrible what happened but somebody has to answer to it."
Nelligan wanted Sha'hiim to answer for stealing a pack of gum in February. That's when prosecutors said the boy was told to write essays explaining his fault, which weren't good enough for the grandmother. Then, they argued in court that she beat the boy for hours, ignoring cries for help, watching his body shut down. The defense claimed Sha'hiim would act out, fall, and hurt himself.
"The photographs and the medical evidence showed the injuries that this little boy sustained," said Assistant District Attorney Christina Tremante. "He wasn't just killed. He was made to suffer."
There were many terrible images the people inside the courthouse saw during this trial, which included those of Sha'hiim Nelligan's bruised body. The images they'd like to remember are pictures of Sha'hiim Nelligan's smiling face.
Referring to Gloria Nelligan, Tremante said, "she didn't only take away his life, she took away everything he could become. We saw through some of his writing and some of the things he liked to do that he had endless potential."
When she thinks of Sha'hiim, Keila Nelligan said, "I just think of his smile, and his hugs when he hugged me back. You felt the love when he hugged you back."
Sha'hiim's loved ones said he liked to sing, and loved to dance. He will never do those things again. After sentencing, his grandmother may never get out of prison. Sentencing is scheduled for November 8.