A Staten Island woman was supposed to be babysitting her neighbor’s toddler for the weekend.
Instead, 32-year-old Gloria Fields spent three days “systematically torturing” the child in February 2016, “slowly killing him,” New York City prosecutors said.
By the end of the weekend, 17-month-old Anthony Delgado had injuries just about everywhere on his body — including blunt force trauma to the head, which ultimately killed him, according to the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office. The boy’s feet were the only part of his body left unscathed.
Fields had shaken the toddler, thrown him against hard surfaces and slammed his head into the ground while he was strapped into his stroller, prosecutors said. Fields sexually assaulted the child as well, according to prosecutors, shoving a six-inch Crayola pencil into the child’s rectum, Staten Island Live reports. The sexual abuse perforated the child’s internal organs, according to medical examiners.
Fields pleaded guilty earlier this month to first-degree murder charges in Anthony’s death, and was sentenced Tuesday in a Staten Island courtroom to 23 years to life in prison, the district attorney’s office said.
"This defendant deserves to spend the rest of her life in prison for the atrocious and sickening crimes she committed, and today's sentence ensures just that," District Attorney Michael McMahon said in a statement. "No family should ever have to experience the loss of a child in this way.”
The abuse lasted from Friday, Feb. 19 to Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016, prosecutors said. It occurred in the apartment complex where both Anthony and Fields lived, as well as at Buffalo Exchange, a used clothing shop in Manhattan.
Fields had 9 prior arrests and her boyfriend, who was also present that weekend, had 25, according to ABC New York.
"This is the most disturbing case I've ever presided over,” Supreme Court Judge Wayne Ozzie told Fields in court, ABC reports. "I was watching was you as Mr. Delgado gave his statement. You showed no emotion. It just confirms my belief that you're just depraved in some way."
Before returning Anthony to his mother, prosecutors said Fields texted the mother to let her know her son had fallen, NBC New York reports. In reality, the child was unconscious and covered in bruises as a result of Fields’ abuse.
The courtroom erupted into applause after the judge announced Fields’ sentence of 23 years to life, Staten Island Live reports. About 20 relatives of Anthony had packed into the courtroom.
According to court records obtained by Staten Island Live, Fields had been using marijuana and heroin the weekend she was responsible for the child. Fields told authorities she was upset after losing custody of her own child, which she blamed on Anthony’s grandmother for reporting Fields to social workers. Fields admitted to hurting Anthony in retaliation, investigators said.
A statement from Anthony’s mother, Marta Delgado, was read in court by a relative.
"I will never get to see his smiling face,” Delgado's statement said, according to Staten Island Live. “I don't think that I'll ever stop grieving his loss ... Since he's gone, the house is abnormally dark."
Delgado had left her toddler with Fields because she was relocating to a new apartment and wanted to focus on the move, the New York Daily News reports.