'Nothing will ever be the same': Eli Hart's family breaks down as mom gets life for killing 6-year-old
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA: After being found guilty of fatally shooting her six-year-old son, Julissa Thaler, a Minnesota woman, referred to the judge as "garbage" after receiving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Fox9 reported that Thaler reportedly remarked at her Thursday sentence hearing, "I’m innocent. F*** you all. You’re garbage. That is all, your honor." Meanwhile, Eli’s stepmother and his aunt, who fostered the boy when he was removed from his mother’s home by social services, broke down and spoke in a victim impact statement about losing the child in the tragic manner.
After killing her son Eli Hart in May 2022, Thaler was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree murder. Ten days earlier, after divorcing the father, she had been given complete custody of the child. Law & Crime reported that according to the prosecution, Thaler shot Eli nine times with a shotgun.
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Julissa Thaler shot her son nine times
According to reports, Thaler, who killed her 6-year-old son in May 2022 and whose body was discovered in the trunk of her car, will spend the rest of her life in prison. On February 8, after just under two hours of discussion, the jury determined that the 29-year-old mother had committed premeditated murder - an offense that carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Thaler was first charged with second-degree murder, but earlier this month a grand jury enhanced the charges against her. According to CBS News, Thaler was detained in Orono after a 911 caller reported that Thaler's vehicle had a blown tire and a broken rear window. The criminal complaint claimed that police noticed blood on Thaler's palm and discovered Hart's body in the trunk of the car. According to the officials, Eli was shot while riding in his mother's car in a parking area at the Lake Minnetonka Regional Park in Minnetrista. The medical examiner recorded the boy's death as a homicide and stated that he suffered from "multiple shotgun wounds."
Thaler had obtained complete custody of Eli ten days before his death. Tory Hart, the father of the kid, had complained on multiple occasions about the mother's history of drug use and mental health problems. A judge earlier ruled that Thaler could participate in her own defense and was mentally fit to stand trial. Soon after, she was given the chance to accept a plea bargain in which she would have been sentenced to 40 years in prison if she had admitted to the second-degree murder charge.
'Nothing will ever be the same'
Eli’s stepmother and his aunt, who fostered the boy when he was removed from his mother’s home by social services, spoke in a victim impact statement.
Both asserted that Eli was more than just a murder victim. “You could see the love and bonding shared every second they were together,” Eli’s stepmother Josephine Jopshson told the court describing the relationship between the boy and his father.
“Nothing will ever be the same. The pain will never go away," she said as the boy's father hugged her when she broke down.
'The worst thing that seems to happen to parents is to lose their child'
At her Thursday sentence hearing, Thaler remarked, "I’m innocent. F*** you all. You’re garbage. That is all, your honor." Hennepin County District Judge Jay Quam responded to the tirade by saying, "Ms Thaler, I don’t know if that’s appropriate here”. The 29-year-old responded by saying, "Sorry, I told you what somebody else can’t."
Judge Quam stated while reading the punishment: "The worst thing that seems to happen to parents is to lose their child. It’s worse, though, when you don’t lose your child to something like cancer or an accident, it’s when someone takes that child from the world. What I can’t imagine, nobody can imagine, is that the person that takes the child from the world is the person that brought that child in. Nothing I do would bring justice to this situation. Nothing I do would relieve any of the pain that you caused by doing that."
Thaler slumped back in her chair, her head on her palm, staring at the floor throughout Quam's reading. She appeared to give the jury and judge the middle finger as she was led out of the courthouse.
In a statement following the verdict, Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said, "Eli’s brutal murder is one of the most horrific cases I have encountered in 30 years working in the criminal legal system. Nothing will ever fill the emptiness Eli’s father and other loved ones now live with every day, but I’m hopeful this verdict will make it just a bit easier to remember Eli as the toothless, happy, smiling little boy we have seen in photos."