Buffalo foster mother Angela Dozier was ordered Monday to spend 25 years to life in prison on her conviction for the fatal beating last August of 2-year-old Terrell Parker, one of two brothers who had been in her care.
On May 20, a jury found Dozier, 31, a former Linwood Avenue day care center operator, guilty of second-degree murder and child endangerment in the fatal beating.
At her sentencing, Dozier reiterated that she is innocent and told State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia her heart "goes out to the Parker family for their loss."
Katherine Parker, maternal grandmother of the murder victim, urged the judge to impose a stiff sentence, denouncing Dozier as "the most selfish, cruel person" she had ever known. She said she is sure Dozier will be "cast into hell where she belongs."
One of Dozier's aunts was ordered out of the courtroom by deputies.
David G. Jay, Dozier's attorney, stressed that Dozier, a first-time foster mother who had taken custody of the two Parker boys in November 2002, "maintains her innocence."
Moments after the mid-morning sentencing, a dozen Erie County sheriff's deputies quelled a hallway shouting match. Mrs. Parker and her daughter, Tracy, who is the victim's birth mother, argued with a group of female relatives of Dozier.
Two aunts of Dozier, who refused to give their names to the media, complained about Katherine Parker's courtroom comments to the judge. LaTanya Dozier, the defendant's sister, denounced the criminal case, insisting her sister "is not that type of person."
Prosecutors Christopher J. Belling and Rachel L. Newton said the victim's brother, Terrence Parker, who was 4 at the time, was found limping in Dozier's second-floor flat shortly after the death of his brother last Aug. 6.
Terrence Parker was treated for a broken right leg at Women and Children's Hospital, where doctors found bruises and welts on his body.
He is now living with his three surviving siblings in another Buffalo foster home, prosecutors said. Tracy Parker, the birth mother of all five Parker children, lost custody of her children two years ago due to drug problems.
The prosecutors established that Terrell Parker died of blunt force trauma to his skull and that he also suffered a ruptured liver, stomach and intestines.
Belling and Newton also presented medical evidence that Terrence Parker, now 5, had been walking around on a broken leg for up to 10 days before he was found and treated.
Taking the stand in her own defense, Angela Dozier on May 19 told the jury that convicted her that she doesn't know how Terrell suffered his fatal internal injuries and denied ever beating Terrence.
The only other defense witness at the trial, LaTanya Dozier, the defendant's sister, told the jury burn marks found on the head of the dead boy had been caused when he accidentally ran into an adult smoking a cigarette at a party in the defendant's house. In closing arguments, defense attorney Jay contended two of Dozier's nephews, then 8 and 10, who had been staying at his client's apartment, could have accidentally inflicted the fatal injuries while roughhousing with the child.