HAMPTON, Va. – Julia Tomlin, who pleaded guilty to murdering her 2-year-old son Noah, was sentenced to 55 years in prison in connection with her son's death.
The sentence was the maximum Tomlin could receive for her charges.
Tomlin's 19-year-old daughter was one of the witnesses who testified Monday. She said all of Tomlin's 10 children suffered physical and mental abuse under her watch, but little Noah got it the worst, ultimately dying from his injuries.
Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell said the toddler was mutilated and tortured and had a horrific death. Officials said his injuries were horrific and severe.
“You’re supposed to be the protector as a parent, not the predator,” said Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell.
Tomlin killed Noah in 2019. The medical examiner said the toddler suffered blunt force trauma to his head.
The doctor testified again Monday saying it takes a lot of force to cause that kind of injury to a baby. She compared it to falling from a multiple story building and being flung by the feet against a wall.
An autopsy found that Noah, who was autistic, suffered many injuries prior to his death and that there was a pattern of abuse. The medical examiner said the toddler had broken ribs and a broken jaw before he was murdered.
Quinci Rockette, a primary prevention specialist at the Samaritan House said children with special needs are more likely to be abused.
"Child abuse and neglect is three times more likely to happen to youth who are disabled, unfortunately. They are a very, very vulnerable population," said Rockette. "I believe there are a lot of stressors that occur in the households of disabled families that can exacerbate violence where there is already violence present."
Bell believes Tomlin is not remorseful.
“At the time of the crime we do not believe she was remorseful because of the steps she took to hide and cover up what she did,” Bell said. “This is someone who was brutalized, someone who was tortured. You don’t torture someone and then say, I’m remorseful that I tortured you. No, you’re remorseful that you got caught.”
In June 2019, Noah was reported missing from his Buckroe Beach home, and police began a grueling search. The 2-year-old boy’s body was found at the Hampton Steam Plant in July 2019 after a week of searching.
Noah was found stuffed in a diaper box, in a garbage bag where Bell said he was “thrown away like yesterday’s trash.”
Bell said Noah had just turned 2 years old when he was killed, adding that death finally put an end to the little boy’s torture.
“It’s heart wrenching that he had to die. It’s heart wrenching he had to suffer the way he did,” he said. “At the end of day, death was a welcomed friend because this kid had went through the worst of the worst.”
The judge said even he wrestled with the sentencing decision.
Bell said the sentence is nothing compared to the suffering Noah went through as a helpless baby, adding that as least his mother gets to live.
Tomlin pleaded guilty in December to charges of second-degree murder, child neglect and concealment of a body in the death of her son.