The diary of 8-year-old Gizzell Ford, of Illinois, was used to convict her grandmother of murder during a trial in a Cook County Court. During the trial, prosecutors argued that Gizzelle, known to some as Gizzy, was exposed to traumatic and horrific child abuse by her grandmother and father. This abuse eventually led to her death in 2013.
The grandmother was found guilty. However, Gizzy’s father, Andre Ford, died in jail in 2014 awaiting trial, reported the Chicago Tribune.
Judge Evelyn Clay said “there was exceeding overwhelming evidence” Gizzell’s grandmother, Helen Ford, “murdered her grandchild.”
Of the evidence used in the court, the most emotional piece was the diary entries of little Gizzy.
Although the entries seem to be normal at first, they slowly become more disturbing and her writing becomes unrecognizable.
During one entry, Gizzy seemed optimistic about the day:
"I hope that I don't mess up today because I really want to be able to just sit down, watch T.V., talk and play with everybody. I am going to be great all day.
I am going to be a beautiful smart and good young lady. I can do anything I put my ... smart mind to. People say I'm smart and courageous and beautiful."
However, the next entry, added by Gizzy under the words "I am going to be great all day" were, "Not true, I failed."
"I hate this life because now I'm in super big trouble," she wrote on July 11 while two cousins were away at summer camp.
Two days after Gizzy penned that traumatic entry, her badly beaten body was found on the floor of her father’s room.
Gizzy also recounted how she was made to squat in the same place for hours on end.
When photos of an extremely emaciated and beaten Gizzy were shown in court, it was hard for many not to become emotional.
"I'm sorry, this never happens," Officer Nancy DeCook said as she began to cry when viewing Gizzy’s photos.
Gizzy’s mother, Sandra Mercado, had been trying to regain custody of the girl, whom the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had placed with her father.
Mercado has filed a civil lawsuit against the state claiming a DCFS caseworker had visited the Austin home where Gizzy lived and ignored the apparent signs of abuse.