Photo: Victim Shylae Myza Thomas.
The 9-year-old's body was found in a plastic bin in a Vienna Township storage unit last April. Police believe her dead body had lain there for six weeks.
"She left this child in the crib to rot and die," said Genesee County Circuit Judge Judith Fullerton during sentencing.
Fullerton pointed out that Thomas, who already had seven kids in her home, was ill equipped to adopt Shylae, and should not have been allowed to do so.
Photo: Lorrie Mae Thomas' mug shot.
Thomas pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter in December.
"I regret that y'all think I don't have remorse," the 40-year-old Thomas tearfully said Monday. "Not one person helped me... I am not a monster. I did not kill Shylae."
Shylae became a quadriplegic shortly after birth in 1999 when she nearly suffocated in her crib.
Thomas adopted the child in 2003. A child welfare worker, responding last spring to a complaint about Thomas, couldn't find Shylae in the house and called Flint police, who found the body in the storage unit. Authorities claimed Thomas stopped providing liquid nutrition through a permanent feeding tube in the girl's stomach and she slowly starved to death.
Assistant Prosecutor Marcie Mabry said Shylae's body, with bones poking through her skin, looked worse than the victims at Auschwitz - Nazi Germany's World War II concentration camp.
Standing just two feet from Thomas in the courtroom, Mabry said she was speaking as Shylae when she asked the judge for a tough sentence.
"I did not need to die like that," Mabry said. "I was forgotten and I laid up in that crib for a year and a half. I needed to be turned. I needed to be touched. I needed to be fed."
"I was basically a paycheck," Mabry said, referring to the nearly $3,000-a-month state subsidy Thomas received to take care of a disabled child.
The sentencing guidelines called for a minimum of three and half years in prison. But the judge said there were "compelling reasons" for a much longer sentence.
Thomas will serve at least 10 years but could be in prison for as long as 15, the maximum for involuntary manslaughter. Her release is up to the state parole board.
This was "involuntary manslaughter by severe neglect in every way," Fullerton said.