A Bridgeton, New Jersey, woman who killed her 23-month-old son, dismembered and then burned his body has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Nakira M. Griner, 28, was convicted on Jan. 4 of the murder of Daniel Griner. A jury also found her guilty of desecration of human remains, endangering the welfare of a child, tampering with evidence, and creating a false public alarm.
Griner Reported Son Missing, Faked Kidnapping
The investigation started with Nakira calling city police to report an assault on her and Daniel's abduction on Feb. 8, 2019.
Nakira reportedly told investigators a stranger went after her while she was pushing her toddler in a stroller and had her infant on her chest. She allegedly said the stranger continuously kicked her on the ground, and her toddler son was abducted. Investigators reportedly found the stroller nearby, but the child was nowhere to be found. However, Griner's statements were inconsistent and would change during interviews.
Multiple law enforcement agencies launched a search for the toddler and the following day, Feb. 9, 2019, the child's remains were found in Nakira's backyard. The child's body had been dismembered and burned, KYW-TV reports.
The autopsy revealed the child was beaten to death and expert testimony showed the toddler's skull had been broken into 74 pieces and that the body had been burnt in an oven.Griner was later arrested and charged in her son's death.
Griner told Investigators Child Fell Down a Flight of Stairs
Prosecutors said that Nakira later told investigators that the child accidentally fell down a flight of stairs in the family home, but she said in phone calls from jail that she "did what she did to him" to cover up bruising on his body.
Nakira eventually told police she hit the boy because he wouldn't "eat nor listen to her," according to the criminal complaint. The complaint said Griner admitted striking the child so hard that she left bruises on his face and also said he fell down a flight of stairs. After striking the child, she said didn't call for help, but placed him in a stroller and left him alone, the station reported.
Nakira had been offered a plea deal in October 2019. Prosecutors offered a 30-year prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to the murder charge. She declined and instead chose to go to trial.
Nakira's defense attorney said that the mother admitted to burning and dismembering her son's body but denied intentionally killing the child, and therefore could be convicted of nothing more than manslaughter.
In addition to life imprisonment, Nakira was sentenced to an additional consecutive seven years for the desecration of human remains.