HALTOM CITY, Texas -- After six hours of deliberation, a jury decided Thursday how long 44-year-old Patricia Flores will stay in prison for the murder of her 2-year-old grandson, Lyfe Maleek Flores.
"Instead of buying toys for him to play with, we buy toys to put at his headstone," said Lyfe's step-grandmother Kim Hamilton during victim impact statements. "Instead of taking him for pictures with the Easter bunny, we are here looking at pictures of autopsies."
Police said the 2-year-old boy died April 4, 2016, at the hands of his own paternal grandmother and CPS guardian, Patricia Flores. She pleaded guilty this week to felony murder in the case. After her sentence was announced, 57-and-a-half years in prison-- family members from the toddler's maternal side had the chance to address her.
"How could you do this to someone you were supposed to love?" Hamilton asked Flores during victim impact statements.
"I can't say on camera what I think of her," she told WFAA afterwards. "She's a coward."
Prosecutors said Flores held the boy in scalding water in her Haltom City home, then waited nearly a week to get him medical help. By the time he made it to doctors, witnesses testified he had internal bleeding, missing teeth and burns all over his body.
According to court documents, police said Flores told them she felt she could treat his injuries at home because of her training as a nursing assistant. She also told police he had burned himself while she wasn't in the room.
While Flores did plead guilty to murder, her attorney said this after court.
"She had no intention of causing any harm," said defense attorney Jeff Linick. "Without any such intention, I don’t think a sentence of that length is justified."
Prosecutors said otherwise.
"The medical evidence was very clear these were not splash burns, it wasn’t something done accidentally. He was held in that water," said prosecutor Kelly Meador.
Flores hardly ever looked up during trial; she did the same during victim impact statements.
"Our family is forever broken. It should not hurt to be a child. And you can’t even look at me," Hamilton said, addressing Flores as she finished her statement.
They will now spend their lives advocating against child abuse, making sure Lyfe's legacy isn't lost.