Tramelle Sturgis' grandmother sentenced to 50 years

The woman found guilty of child neglect in connection with her grandson's death was sentenced to 50 years in prison Thursday.

Dellia Castille was given three consecutive sentences for her lack of action to stop her son from beating his three children inside her home. Terry Sturgis murdered 10-year-old Tramelle Sturgis in November 2011.

At an emotional sentencing hearing, Castille asked to address her grandson, Tramelle's brother, directly. She apologized to him amid tears and maintained that she did not know what was going on in the basement of her home where the children were repeatedly abused.

But, the judge pointed to testimony from the children themselves indicating that Castille was well aware of the circumstances and even predicted that one day Terry Sturgis would go too far.

It was her failure to act, to speak out for these children that led the judge to give Castille sentences to be served out separately.

Dellia Castile walked out of the sentencing holding on to claims that she had no idea of the pain her three grandchildren were enduring at the hands of her son.

The judge said that Castille's home was a place where nightmares were real.

"I can't say how proud I am of those kids," said deputy prosecutor Joel Gabrielse. "Not only did they endure this, but then they came in and told a bunch of strangers in a scary courtroom what happened."

Tramelle's brother took the stand at his grandmother's sentencing.

"My grandma let it go on and on," he said. "She chose my daddy over her grandchildren."

Despite his experience, he said he wanted his grandmother to be given home detention, not sent to prison, because he still had empathy for her.

"All of them love their grandma," Gabrielse said. "it is a tough spot for them to be in, testifying in their grandmother's trial. They love her."

The family bond bringing Castile to tears for the first time in this entire process. As she wiped tears away, she said she had to accept blame because she was in that house.

"We can't forget the fact that the person who committed these horrible crimes was Terry Sturgis," said St. Joseph County prosecutor Michael Dvorak. "But, it was Ms.Castile, who was sentenced today, who placed the children in that danger. Two of them were seriously injured and one was killed. That is what she was held accountable for today."

Before giving a sentence, the judge recalled what the children said Castille yelled when she found out Tramelle was dead. Testimony indicates she said, "why did you do it? I knew this would happen."

The knowing and remaining silent is what the judge said makes Castille responsible for the harm done to these children.

"We hope that we never experience something like this again in our community," Dvorak said.

Castille said that she does plan to appeal this case. Her attorney called the outcome a "miscarriage of justice."


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