An Illinois mom has been dubbed a “monster” by a judge who has sentenced her to 43 years of imprisonment for the shocking murder of her own child. People reports that 35-year-old Nicholette Lawrence murdered her 11-year-old daughter in 2014, but it wasn’t until this week that justice was served. The details of this case of child abuse are horrifying, which is why 19th Circuit Court Judge James Booras didn’t mince words with the convicted killer.
It was a shocking crime that devastated residents of Waukegan. Police responded to a residence on reports of a child found unresponsive. What they found was the emaciated and injured body of 11-year-old Raashanai Coley. The child was pronounced dead just a short time later in a nearby hospital, a victim of horrifying child abuse.
The child’s mother didn’t hesitate to admit that she had caused her daughter’s death. Nicholette Lawrence told detectives that she had struck the 11-year-old girl in the stomach shortly before her death. An autopsy confirmed that the girl had been so brutally punched that it caused a tear in her stomach, as well as impact damage to her spine. The Chicago Tribune reports that these weren’t the only injuries suffered by the murdered child. Doctors confirmed in 2014 that Raashanai suffered from malnutrition and several other injuries that were in various states of scarring and healing. These findings indicated that the little girl had endured ongoing abuse.
The physical abuse wasn’t all that was suffered by the 11-year-old child. She was confined to a closet with little more than a sink, and was reportedly given nothing more to eat than a bowl of cereal per day. The confinement and gradual starvation of the child was torturous and weakened her to a frail state. At the time of her death, the child weighed a pitiful 67 lbs.
Raashanai’s short 11 years of life were wrought with suffering. A timeline of the child’s life published by the Chicago Tribune reveals that the girl was born just after her mother was found guilty of “pandering an underage girl for prostitution” in the state of Nevada. When the child was only a toddler, she was given to her maternal grandparents after her mother was accused of exposing her to her lifestyle and “business” in prostitution and the adult industry.
Woman negotiates house arrest in ‘very troubling’ child abuse case https://t.co/BPmIzlaZvp
— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) September 17, 2016
Soon after Raashanai was placed back in her mother’s custody, her stepfather was arrested for battering her. At this time, the child was still not removed from the custody of her mother. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had been encouraged to perform welfare checks on the child more than once leading up to her horrifying demise, but they were not able to stop Nicholette in time.
— Austin York (@realAustinYork) January 9, 2017
Sadly, cases like these aren’t uncommon — contrary to a statement made by the judge who referred to the Illinois mom as a “monster.” Judge James Booras believes that crimes like these are usually committed by “strangers or an evil individual,” but the fact of the matter is that most victims of child abuse are victimized at the hands of their own parents or custodial guardians. The National Children’s Alliance reports that approximately “four out of five abusers” are the victims’ parents.
It should be noted that the 43-year prison sentence given to the “monster” mom was only the result of an earlier plea agreement. Lawrence pleaded “guilty” back in October to the murder of her 11-year-old daughter. If she had chosen to plead “not guilty,” she would have possibly been given a life sentence. Nonetheless, at 35 years old, a 43-year prison stint means that she will be elderly if she ever sees freedom again. Judge James Booras has also ruled that the Illinois mom will not be granted any chance of early release from prison, further ensuring that she will be at least 76 years old before she’s ever freed.
Was justice adequately served in the horrific child abuse death of 11-year-old Raashanai Coley?
[Featured Image by Waukegan Police]