An Illinois woman was sentenced to 43 years in prison by a judge for the 2014 murder of her 11-year-old daughter. During the sentencing hearing, the judge dubbed the 35-year-old woman a "monster mom" for the horrific crime.
Judge James Booras of the 19th Circuit Court addressed the courtroom on Tuesday. The judge was shocked at how the woman, Nicholette Lawrence, treated her child.
"Who would lock a child up in a closet furnished only with a sink and feed the child only a bowl of cereal a day?" Booras said according to the court transcripts obtained by People.
Booras also mentioned that crimes of this particular kind are typically committed by "a stranger or an evil individual," but not the child's parent.
Back in October, Lawrence pleaded guilty to murder of her 11-year-old child, Raashanai Coley. The child died on September 5, 2014.
Raashanai was only 67 pounds at the time of her death. Lawrence allegedly punched her daughter in the stomach. The child was ultimately killed after suffering an infection from the force of the punch.
The autopsy results were equally as shocking. Medical examiners determined that Raashanai suffered physical abuse long before her death.
"It's why I refer to her as a 'monster mom,' " Booras said of Lawrence. "I saw photos of the autopsy. The state made reference [that it looked like] she came from a prison camp. No. It looked like she came out of concentration prison camp. How can humans do this? Animals don't do this to their own."
The prosecutors were able to obtain a video of Lawrence screaming at her daughter and physically beating her. To add to the horror, the person filming the disturbing scene could be heard laughing.
"The defendant and others … treated this child as an animal," Booras told the court. "We saw the video of this child being beaten by her mother with a belt, and to someone's amusement. Someone was videotaping it. People are strange."
Lawrence delivered a prepared statement during the sentencing hearing.
"I just want to say to you and everyone that I am truly sorry for what has happened," Lawrence said. "There is not a second of the day I am not tormented by [the] pictures in my mind. I rarely sleep. But it's not about me. I hope someday to help others so they don't have to be filled with the sadness and grief of causing something so horrible to their own child."
Despite Lawrence's statement of regret, the judge sentenced her to remain behind bars without the possibility of early release, so she will be at least 76 before she gets out of prison.
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