Thanks to a stripe-covered diary with rainbows, 8-year-old Gizzell Ford's murderer can be brought to justice. Unfortunately, the killer is the child's own grandmother. Known to her friends as Gizzy, the straight-A student wrote about teachers, friends, clothes, jumping rope, and abuse suffered at the hands of her grandmother, 55-year-old Helen Ford. One day the little girl with the beautiful smile and great penmanship wrote that she was going to be a beautiful, smart young lady, who could do anything she put her mind to, while hoping she didn't mess up that day. She added that all she wanted to do was watch TV, talk, play, and be great all day.

Gizzell later added a postscript which read: "Not true. I failed."

The young Chicagoan often made entries describing punishments which included being forced to stand in place for an hour or two or doing squat for hours. One entry reads that she was looking forward to starting school in August so she would be out of the house. Gizzell wrote her last entry on July 11, 2013: "I hate this life because now I'm in super big trouble." The next day she was found dead inside her grandmother's filthy apartment, strangled and beaten.

When blood is not thicker than water

Police immediately arrested the girl's father Andre Ford who had a chronic degenerative disease and died of a heart attack in 2014, and her grandmother Helen Ford.

On Wednesday, the prosecution introduced Gizzell's diary, along with a cell phone video allegedly showing Helen Ford berating Gizzell for breaking house rules. The frightened child stood silently with a sock stuffed in her mouth. The prosecution also laid out abusive claims such as Gizell having been tied to a bed for days, denied food and water, and further punished for trying to sneak a sip of water from the toilet.

A brother's love

Gizzell Ford's 10-year old brother testified on his sister's behalf, adding that he had been abused by the grandmother as well. The boy told the judge that he had witnessed Helen Ford hit Gizzell in the mouth with a spatula, force her to eat hot peppers and stand in contorting positions for hours.

Bursting into tears, he described his sister as someone who was very nice and liked to make friends and play.

A poor excuse is no excuse

Helen Ford's public defender, Judie Smith, characterized her client as overwhelmed, overworked and overcome after being saddled with caring for a bedridden son and three grandchildren. Smith also alleged that some of the girl's wounds were self-inflicted and she was a tragically troubled young lady. Helen Ford has been found guilty of murder and faces spending the rest of her life behind bars. Gizzell's mother, Sandra Mercado, is suing the Department of Children and Family Services.

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