A Florida woman was convicted of locking up her boyfriend’s 12-year-old son in a closet and starving him.
Sharon Ashley Glass, 49, was convicted of eight counts of aggravated child abuse Friday after the jury deliberated for 90 minutes.
Glass and her boyfriend Michael Marshall, 40, were arrested in 2012 after police received a tip about the abuse. The boy was found on the floor in the couple’s bathroom. He weighed just 40 pounds.
Glass told the court Friday that it wasn’t her responsibility to care for the emaciated boy.
She said she didn’t notice that he was starving.
"He was always wearing baggy sweatshirts and stuff," Glass told the court.
She said she never disciplined the boy and that she wanted to leave her relationship with Marshall but feared he would become violent. She claims he threatened to kill her on more than one occasion.
"I begged him to stop," said Glass. "I was so scared. Mike threatened to kill me multiple times."
She dated Marshall for 4.5 years, during which time she never had a job, prosecutors said.
"I strongly believed he was going to kill me, that I was his true love and he didn't want anyone else to have me," said Glass.
Glass is scheduled to be sentenced in March.
Marshall is also facing child abuse charges. His hearing is scheduled for late January.
"It's very difficult for everyone involved. It's very difficult for us, as prosecutors, to do these kinds of things. Our jobs are to pursue justice and that's what we did," said prosecutor William Scheiner.
The victim, now 14, testified in court on Wednesday. He told the court he was punished when Glass accused him a stealing an iPod, stealing food, and taking anything else that went missing. He said that Glass told Marshall she would leave him if he didn’t keep him locked up.
"I was constantly locked up," he told prosecutors.
He described how they locked him in a closet using bungee cord and desk. He said at one point he was zip-tied, standing up, to the post of a bunk bed. He said he stood there for three days.
He testified that on Christmas in 2011 the couple let him out of the bathroom only to watch other children open gifts. He was put back in the bathroom and given a stocking full of coal.
"I just cried,” he said.
"I'm happy for the victim's sake, that this chapter in his life is closed. He's a very brave young man and I'm proud of him," Scheiner said after the verdict.