HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) Verdicts have come down in the case against a grandmother and her former boyfriend accused of abusing a 17-month-old grandson to death in 2008.
Friday afternoon, both Julia Gorman and Robert Palmer were found guilty by a jury on charges of homicide by child abuse, aiding and abetting and unlawful conduct toward a child.
They were each then sentenced to 35 years in prison for the homicide charge, 20 years for the aiding and abetting charge and 10 years for the unlawful conduct toward a child charge.
The sentences will run concurrent, meaning they will both spend 35 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Aydian Grimes died from skull fractures in July 2008 due to being beaten by Gorman. According to the Horry County Solicitor's Office, Gorman brought her grandson to Conway Hospital claiming the baby was having a seizure. Doctors reportedly found multiple fractures in the baby's skull and bleeding in the brain.
In testimony on Tuesday, the prosecution called the baby's father, Richard Grimes, to the stand as well as the mother, Cesalee Carnaghie. The prosecution hopes to prove Gorman and Palmer are guilty. Both defendants are charged with homicide by child abuse, aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse, and unlawful neglect of a child.
The prosecution also called a medical expert and a 911 records keeper to the stand. Candice Lively with the Horry County Solicitor's Office says, "They support our theory of the case that he was killed in the care of Gorman and Palmer on July 14."
The defense attorney for Robert Palmer, Carla Grabert-Lowenstein, says she plans to prove Palmer's innocence and the responsibility is that of Gorman. Gorman's attorney had no comment for WMBF News. Lowenstein explains, "My goal is to show Robert Palmer knew nothing about the injuries…didn't know about them, was not present when it happened."
But Lowenstein agrees the charges are serious. Lowenstein says, "They are serious charges-have to do with the allegations of head injuries that caused Aydian's death." Attorneys say child abuse trials are some of the most challenging.
Lively says,"Tragic because you have a victim with no information from them other than their body. Their body is the evidence and you have to back track and figure out what happened. It is sad because you want to know how to prevent this in the future."