A 320-pound Florida woman has been sentenced to life in prison after she sat on her 9-year-old cousin in an attempt to punish the girl and ended up smothering her to death.
Veronica Green Posey, 66, was found guilty of first-degree felony murder and sentenced to life in prison after the Oct. 14, 2017 death of Dericka Lindsay.
Prosecutors said Lindsay had long suffered abuse at the hands of her adoptive parents, James and Grace Smith, as well as Posey before the fateful morning that she was forced to kneel down with her chest on the seat of an arm chair while Posey sat on top of her, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
The young girl reportedly screamed that she couldn’t breathe, but Posey continued to sit on top of her for more than five minutes until Lindsay died from a lack of oxygen.
After discovering Lindsay wasn’t breathing, Posey called 911 but the girl had already died.
Prosecutors said Posey had come to the family’s home that morning after receiving a phone call from Grace Smith, who told her Lindsay and her 8-year-old sister had been misbehaving.
“Once her feet hit the floor getting out of bed, she was determined to beat these children,” Assistant Attorney Amy Shea said during the two-day trial.
Posey went to the home with a ruler and thin pipe she used to beat Lindsay before forcing her to kneel in front of the chair.
An autopsy done of the body showed severe bruising on the girl’s buttocks suggesting that she had “injury, on top of injury, on top of injury,” the local paper reports.
Posey’s defense attorney Michael Griffith claimed his client had just been trying to help the Smiths and hadn’t want to hurt the young girl.
After the jury reached a decision, Griffith said he plans to investigate options for an appeal.
"We are very upset. We respect the jury's verdict, but we are going to request a copy of the transcript and look for any avenues of appeal," he told WEAR.
The girl’s adoptive father James Smith has already been given a 10-year sentence for his role in the death, the Associated Press reports. Her adoptive mother, Grace Smith, is still facing charges for her role, but has been ruled mentally and physically unfit to stand trial for now.
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