Neglect trial underway for Tramelle Sturgis' grandmother

10 year old Tramelle Sturgis was beaten to death by his father, but was he betrayed by his grandmother?

That’s up to a jury in St. Joseph County to decide at the trial of Dellia Castile.

The boy’s murder took place inside Castile’s home and West Washington Street in South Bend and Castile is charged with three counts of child neglect.

The first piece of evidence brought forth today was the recorded 911 call that finally revealed the type of torture that was going on inside the home.

That call came from Dellia Castile, although the prosecution claimed it was made only after the boy had been beaten so badly he had stopped breathing.

By the time the first police officer arrived on scene and began chest compressions in an attempt to revive Tramelle, the boy’s skin was “cold to the touch.”

The prosecution also claimed that Dellia Castile hung up when the 911 operator started asking how the boy was injured. The operator immediately called back—only to see the call go to voicemail.

In its opening statement, the defense conceded that the murder occurred in Castile’s home, but pointed out that she lived upstairs, while the Sturgis boys lived down the basement.

Jurors heard that Dellia Castile had eye and hearing difficulties, that contributed to her status as disabled, and that she had her hands full caring for four grandchildren in the upstairs portion of the home.

The prosecution claims that Castile not only knew about the basement beatings but that she paid her son “not to whoop the kids.”

Jurors today also heard an alleged example of how Castile once downplayed the kind of abuse going on in the home.

She was quoted as saying Terry Sturgis made his kids do chores, or had them stand in the corner, while he occasionally would spank them with a comb.

In reality, Terry Sturgis beat his children with a 1” wooden dowel rod, and branded them with a hot clothes iron.

The injuries to Tramelle Sturgis were extensive enough to bring one juror to tears.

As the prosecution displayed photographs of the boy’s body, the bailiff passed a tissue box through the jury box, allowing jurors to take one and pass it down.

Some jurors did take a tissue, some didn’t, and at least one was seen wiping away tears.

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