Sunday, March 26, 2017
A Chicago woman was convicted of first-degree murder March 2nd for the killing of her 8-year-old granddaughter, who was tied up and deprived of food and water for days.
55-year-old Helen Ford now faces life in prison without parole for the 2013 murder of Gizzell Ford, which, after the bench trial, Cook County, Ill., Circuit Judge Evelyn Clay called “exceptionally brutal.”
Eight months before Gizzell was killed, a judge had placed her in the custody of her father, Andre Ford, an unemployed felon who was living with his mother because of a chronic degenerative disease. He was also charged in his daughter’s murder but died in Cook County Jail in August 2014 while awaiting trial
Gizzell kept a journal in which she detailed some of what she went through at the hands of her grandmother. “I know if I be good and do everything I’m told I won’t have to do punishments,” Gizzell wrote, describing how she had been forced to squat for hours and told to stand in one place for “an hour or two.”
“I am going to be a beautiful smart and good young lady,” she wrote one day. “I can do anything I put my smart mind to. People say I’m smart and courageous and beautiful.”
Her last entry was on July 11, 2013, when she wrote, “I hate this life because I’m in super big trouble.”
Gizzell was dead the following day, and her body was discovered soon after in her grandmother’s trash-filled apartment. She had been strangled and badly beaten. Prosecutors said that Gizzell had been tied to a bed for days, denied food and water, and then punished when she tried to get a sip of water from a toilet. It is believed that her father directed the attacks, while her grandmother carried out the cruel deeds.