On Thursday, Julissa Thaler, a woman from Minnesota, was sentenced to life imprisonment for first-degree murder in the death of her 6-year-old son, Eli Hart, in October 2022.
Prosecutors argued that Thaler shot Eli nine times while he was sitting in his booster seat, and his body was discovered in the trunk of a car during a traffic stop.
Eli’s father, Tory Hart, has filed a lawsuit against Dakota County Social Services, alleging that the agency returned Eli to Thaler despite concerns about her alleged drug use and deteriorating mental health.
During the trial, Thaler’s defense attorney acknowledged that she was involved in Eli’s death but argued that she did not shoot him.
At the sentencing hearing, a class photo of Eli was placed in front of the judge, and loved ones spoke about the boy’s kindness and love of exploration.
Eli’s former foster mother, Nikita Kronberg, and stepmother, Josephine Josephson, both spoke about the pain caused by Eli’s death.
When Thaler was given the opportunity to address the court, she asserted her innocence and used profanity towards the court. She said, “I’m innocent. F— you all. You’re garbage,”.
Following the sentencing, Eli’s family expressed their intention to raise funds for a playground in his honor.