Warning: distressing content ahead.
Eight-year-old Gizzell Ford kept a diary of her thoughts, like many girls her age. But besides describing normal childhood things like school teachers, clothes and friends, the contents are disturbing.
“I know if I be good and do everything I’m told I won’t have to do punishments,” Gizzell wrote.
PEOPLE reports she described terrible abuse she suffered from her grandmother Helen Ford in Chicago, such as being forced to squat for hours and being beaten.
The day before she was killed, she wrote, "I hope that I don’t mess up today because I really want to be able to just sit down, watch T.V., talk and play with everybody... I am going to be great all day.”
However she wrote a terrifying postscript: "Not true. I failed."
In her last entry on July 11, 2013, she wrote "I hate this life because now I’m in super big trouble.”
The next day, Gizzell was found dead after being strangled and beaten in her grandmother's trash-filled apartment, where she had been living with her dad for months.
Police arrested her father and her grandmother for her death, alleging that her father had directed the attacks and her grandmother had carried them out.
Her father, Andre Ford, died of a rare skin condition that caused him to have a heart attack in 2014.
The Chicago Tribune reports that in court this week, Gizzell's grandmother was convicted of murder, and prosecutors revealed horrific evidence to the court, such as a mobile phone video showing her berating Gizzell for breaking the house rules. Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Ashley Romito said that because of her grandmother's abuse, she became 'unrecognisable'.
“[Gizzell] had a terrific smile, beautiful, full hair and wonderful penmanship,” Romito said. “What Helen Ford did to her reduced that child to something completely unrecognisable.”
The defense lawyers alleged that the defendant carried out the abuse because she was “overworked, overwhelmed and overcome” from looking after her sick son and three grandkids.
She could face up to life in prison for her crime. The judge said, "That child suffered a slow and agonising death. That little body looked like it had been pulverised from head to toe. ... Her treatment (of Gizzy) was evil."
Helen Ford reportedly showed no emotion on hearing the judge's decision.