A Minnesota mother cursed at a judge as he sentenced her to life in prison for the murder of her six-year-old son.
Julissa Thaler, 29, was convicted last week on first-degree murder charges after her son, Eli Hart, was found dead in her trunk.
Thaler was sentenced in a Hennepin County Court on Thursday, where Judge Jay Quam gave the convicted murderer a chance to make a statement.
‘Yes, I would like to say something,’ Thaler told the court. ‘I’m innocent, f–k you all, you’re garbage.’
The horrific murder was discovered after Thaler was pulled over at a traffic stop in Orono. Officers saw that Thaler was covered in blood and pieces of flesh.
Thaler was driving a car with a shattered back windshield and missing one tire. When they opened her trunk, they discovered her son’s body and the shotgun investigators believe Thaler used to kill him.
After searching her car, they also found both fired and unfired shotgun shells. Prosecutors argued that Thaler shot Eli nine times while he was sitting in his booster seat.
Detectives were also able to trace Thaler’s movements to multiple dumpsters in the area, where it appears she was discarding evidence – including the damaged booster seat and his school backpack.
Investigators believe she was motivated by an ongoing custody battle with Eli’s father, Tory Hart.
Later, investigators also found a series of disturbing Google searches on Thaler’s laptop in the months leading up to Eli’s death in May 2022.
Some of the searches included: ‘how much blood can a six-year-old lose,’ ‘most powerful knockout drug,’ and ‘how to keep a child from school for a month.’
Thaler also made searches about defrauding life insurance policies, including ‘qualifying accidental deaths,’ ‘does life insurance cover drowning,’ ‘how to commit crime and blame child,’ and ‘student loans for six-year-olds.’
It took a jury less than two hours to find Thaler guilty on all counts of first-degree premeditated murder and second-degree intentional murder
After the conviction, family members read victim impact statements, telling the court about how Eli touched their lives.
‘He was so kind and amazing. Always had a smile on his face. He made friends so easily and wanted to explore all the time,’ said Nikita Kronberg, Hart’s cousin and Eli’s former foster mother.
‘The love and connection that Tory had with his only son was something I was privileged to see,’ said Hart’s wife Josie Josephson. The grieving father stood next to her but did not speak. ‘You could see the love and bond they shared every second they were together. Now we only have memories, and they are not enough.’
‘No one will ever know why she did what she did to Eli,’ Kronberg said. ‘We can only assume that it was to keep Tory and Eli away from each other’
Hart’s family is currently suing Dakota County Social Services for allowing Eli to remain with his mother despite her continued drug use and declining mental health.
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