In March of 2013, after enduring weeks of beatings at the hands of her mother's now husband, 5-year-old Soren Chilson finally succumbed to a fatal blow to the head. One South Carolina detective called her death "one of the most brutal things I have ever seen," while an attorney says her death was a "month-long killing," per People. This week, mom April Victoria Gleason, and her husband, Phillip Gleason, were sentenced to 18 and 38 years, respectively, but WBTV adds a twist: They're expecting another child in April. The case revealed chilling texts in which the couple talked about the beatings and at times seemed to make light of them. In one, the girl's mother wrote that she was ready to perform "Soren-cide" because her daughter was apparently misbehaving.
Phillip Gleason's defense argued that the Iraq war veteran was suffering PTSD and traumatic brain injury, which the prosecuting attorney called a "slap in the face to every veteran." Phillip Gleason took photos and video of the injured girl, writing in one text, "She will suffer my rules," and in another, "I just knocked the [expletive] out of her," per the Herald. Authorities say Soren's mother made no attempt to stop the beatings, even buying cream to cover up the injuries, reports the Charlotte Observer. She says she is "not a monster" and that Soren was the "joy" of her life. One of the first responders who held Soren's hand as she died choked up when asked to describe the girl's injuries during sentencing. "Soren endured a living hell," he said. (One teen mom taped her whimpering toddler to the wall.)