The Chicago woman convicted of murdering her 8-year-old granddaughter, whose diary detailed the torture she endured at the hands of her grandmother, has been sentenced to life in prison.
Helen Ford was found guilty in March of first-degree murder in the killing of Gizzell Ford, who, after enduring months of deprivation and abuse, was found strangled in 2013.
“I hate this life because now I’m in super big trouble,” the second grader wrote in her diary on July 11, two days before her battered body was found by paramedics in her family’s home.
The little girl weighed only 70 pounds at the time of her death and was wearing only a pair of green underwear when she died.
“This murder was torture," Judge Evelyn Clay said in March, The Chicago Tribune reported. "That child suffered a slow and agonizing death."
Gizzell recounted the punishments she suffered in her rainbow-striped journal, writing about being forced to squat in place for half the day, as well as being made to stand for “an hour or two.”
“I know if I be good and do everything I’m told I won’t have to do punishments,” Gizzell wrote.
Authorities believed an open, maggot-infested wound found on the back of Gizzell’s head was caused by her rubbing against a metal pole on her father’s bed, which she had been tied to since getting out of school in June.
An autopsy also found signs of blunt force trauma and showed Gizzell was suffering from kidney failure at the time of her death, likely because her grandmother and father had deprived her of food and water for days.
When she tried to sneak a drink from a toilet, she was punished, officials said.
“That little body looked like it had been pulverized from head to toe," Clay said. "Her treatment [of Gizzell] was evil."
Andre Ford, Gizzell’s father and the son of Helen Ford, had also been charged in the little girl’s murder.
Though bedridden with chronic scleroderma, prosecutors said Gizzell’s father cheered on his mother as she beat and abused the girl.
He also carried out other forms of punishment the little girl was made to endure by refusing to give his daughter food or water, officials said.
Andre Ford died of an apparent heart attack in Cook County Jail while awaiting trial in August 2014, the Tribune reported.