A lesbian couple in South Carolina caused hysteria in a Charleston courtroom after a judge sentenced them both to life in prison for the brutal death of a child.
The Post and Courierreports that Erica Mae Butts and Shanita Latrice Cunningham, both 25, fell to the floor and had to be restrained and wheeled out of the courtroom after hearing that they would be spending the rest of their lives behind bars for killing Butts's goddaughter, Serenity Richardson, 3, two years ago.
Butts admitted to police that she had whipped the child with a belt for urinating on the floor. "By the time paramedics reached Serenity," the story continues, "she was already dead but had been placed on ice and exposed to bleach in desperate attempts to revive her."
Assistant Solicitor Elizabeth Gordon told the court the child's body showed injuries indicating that she had been tortured for weeks, which was the length of time she had been in the care of Butts and Cunningham.
"There was not a plane of her body that was spared, save the soles of her feet," Gordon said.
Circuit judge Deadra Jefferson, who sentenced the women, said she had "never had anything affect me as profoundly as the pictures I've viewed of this child."
"To ignore what must have been excruciating sounds that came from that child is more than disconcerting to this court," she added.
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