Three young girls took the witness stand to testify against their own mother, who is accused of killing their eight-year-old nephew. Innae Park was in court for day two of Gloria Nelligan's trial and has the latest from Schenectady.
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- It was a very emotional day in court as Gloria Nelligan's three daughters, who lived with her and her grandson, Sha'hiim, testified. Sobs broke out, not only from witnesses themselves, but Gloria Nelligan and those who were in the courtroom.
Nelligan is accused of causing the death of the eight-year-old in February 2013 after allegedly beating him for hours with a backscratcher at their home on Mynderse Street and not taking him to get medical attention in time.
Her youngest, an 11-year-old, covered her face for most of testimony and had to break from testifying due to sobs. When she was asked, “Did you see your mom do anything with the backscratcher,” to her nephew, her reply was, “I don't want to answer.”
The two older daughters testified they did see their mother beat their nephew with a backscratcher, but didn't actually see her tie his arms to the chair nor put the sock in his mouth, though they did see him in those positions at a later time.
They both also agreed that before they went to bed, their mother told them to go ahead without her and her 14-year-old daughter testified that Nelligan said she wasn't stopping until she saw blood.
As for the older daughter, tears began running down her face when she said, “I heard Sha'hiim crying… I heard her hit him with the backscratcher again.”
About her mother, the 17-year-old stated that she said he [Sha’hiim] was playing a game and that she was going to play it with him.
The 17-year-old also testified that before Friday, the eight-year-old had no injuries, but by Saturday morning, his entire side was purple from bruising.
In all three cross examinations, the defense had asked if Child Protective Services workers said they would only let the girls go with their older brother if they cooperated. Two girls agreed with that question.
In the middle daughter's testimony, we heard that Sha'hiim would bruise easily, "throw himself around" and also had a problem with incontinence, or wetting himself.
The older daughter also testified that Nelligan had talked about creating a 'safety plan' for the eight-year-old and taking him to mental health services at Ellis Hospital on Monday.
When the 14-year-old was cross-examined, she admitted that at the time of the incident, she was mad at her mother after being punished for other personal wrongdoing.
Nelligan's defense says the boy's death was the result of him falling in the bathtub.
All told a very difficult day in the courtroom, with tears shed not only for Sha'hiim, but for a family, now broken.
The trial resumes Thursday at 9:30 a.m.