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Grandmother Sentenced To Life In Prison For Brutal Murder Of 8-Year-Old Gizzell Ford

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Helen Ford, the West Side woman convicted of killing her 8-year-old granddaughter, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.

Ford spoke on her own behalf, but showed no remorse. She insisted the truth was that little 8-year old Gizzell Ford hurt herself by "throwing herself around."

By then, Cook County Judge Evelyn Clay had heard enough, cutting her off and handing down the sentence.

The sentencing hearing took about three hours, with dozens of Ford's family members visibly upset as they walked out of court.

Most of them asked the judge for mercy, saying Ford was a wonderful motherly figure.

The trial judge called Gizzell Ford's death "slow, painful and agonizing."

It was July of 2013 when 8-year-old Gizzell Ford died. She'd been beaten and strangled.

Prosecutors said she'd been tied to a pole and used as a punching bag.

No food. No water. Punished when she tried to drink out of the toilet.

There was a gaping wound on her head - and maggots.

There have been reports that said DCFS didn't do enough; that a doctor never reported a suspicious injury to authorities.

Gizzell kept a diary: "I am going to be a beautiful, smart, and good young lady," she wrote.

Then shortly before she died, this entry in her diary: "I hate this life because now I'm in super big trouble."

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