A day care owner was found guilty on Thursday of murdering a toddler in her care. The jury recommended Vicki Chiles receive life without parole for suffocating 2-year-old Joshua Minton with masking tape.
The jury took three and a half hours to deliver a guilty verdict and the Minton family was overcome with relief.
There were tears of relief from the family as the courtroom let out.
"I think I'm kinda in shock. I believe we've had justice served today," said Joshua's grandmother, Margie McDonald.
Chiles admitted to taping Minton's hands and mouth with masking tape last May, because he wouldn't be quiet during nap time.
The defense rested without calling a single witness. But Chiles' attorney tried to make the case in closing arguments that his client did not willfully injure the boy and shouldn't be convicted of murder.
The jury disagreed and recommended Chiles receive life in prison without parole.
"I'm really glad about that because I don't want her to have the opportunity to do this to another child," said McDonald.
Prosecutor Brian Kuester said the verdict should send a message to the community about child abuse.
"If you reach that point where you think you might harm your child, stop, call someone take a different action but don't do that. This jury has told everyone out here in this community that if you harm a child justice is going to be served," said Kuester.
McDonald said the verdict was necessary for her family to heal, but it can't erase what's happened.
"I know we'll never get over it. It's something you just never get over when you lose a child in your family. And Robert and Katie have to wake up every morning without their baby," said McDonald.
Joshua's parents, Katie and Robert Minton, were too emotional to talk, they said. Chiles showed little emotion when the verdict was read and the Minton family feels like she never expressed any remorse.
7/18/2007 Daycare Owner To Stand Trial For Murder