Sumpter Township man sentenced in torture, murder of girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter
Brad Fields found guilty by jury on list of charges
DETROIT – A jury found 28-year-old Brad Fields guilty on a list of charges including felony murder, second-degree murder, first-degree child abuse, torture, conspiracy to commit first-degree child abuse and conspiracy to commit second-degree child abuse.
On Tuesday, Fields was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Fields declined to speak in court Tuesday.
Judge Vonda Evans compared the home to the castle in "Beauty and the Beast." But the judge says the beast "had a good heart" while Fields was a "murderer."
Fields and his girlfriend, 25-year-old Candice Diaz, were accused of abusing and killing Diaz's 4-year-old daughter, Gabrielle Barrett. The abuse allegedly happened on New Year's Day 2018 in the couple's trailer on Greenmeadow Drive in Sumpter Township.
Police found Gabrielle with burns and bruises all over her body. She was unresponsive with "obvious" severe burns, officers reported. She was rushed to the hospital and was pronounced dead shortly after.
In court, the couple was accused of abusing her because she was having trouble being potty trained. After she died, the couple ran. Police found them and arrested them without incident in Georgia.
"Her death is from her body breaking down from all of the injuries," said the prosecutor.
Diaz will be in court later this month. She faces the same charges.
More background on the case
Police records show that the incident isn't the first time there was trouble at the home.
On May 20, 2016, officers stormed the house after receiving a report of a barricaded gunman after a domestic assault.
Diaz told police that Fields had beaten her, shot her dog and shot himself in a suicidal outburst. Police said Fields then fled the home and was later arrested on domestic violence charges.
Police said Diaz claimed she owned weapons that had been confiscated, including one from which the serial number had been filed off. She pleaded guilty to weapons charges and received probation.
Graphic details revealed at boyfriend's hearing
Cynthia Diaz was called to the stand to discuss the death of her granddaughter.
She told the court Gabrielle had been living with her prior to September of 2017 when she was starting school.
She told the court that Gabrielle’s hair was falling out and she had lice at Thanksgiving. She also said Gabrielle had several teeth that needed treatment.
The grandmother said she never saw any signs of abuse, but did say there were several times she was asked not to visit Gabrielle without explanation.
Officer George Salajan, III was one of the first responders to the scene and was called to the stand to discuss what Fields told investigators.
Salajan said Fields took several phone calls after the incident and said Gabrielle had thrown up and passed out in the bathtub.
He told the court Gabrielle’s skin was discolored and there appeared to be bruises on the side of her face. Salajan also said her feet and buttocks were scalded.
The prosecutor entered the medical examiner’s report into evidence. The cause of death was listed as multiple traumatic injuries. It also listed medical, dental and physical neglect.
Miranda Irwin, a forensic scientist with Michigan State Police, took the stand and discussed what evidence was gathered at the scene.
She described the girl’s room and said her bed was leaning against a wall and a nanny cam was sitting on a dresser.
Irwin told the court about the samples collected from the home, including first aid items and a pair of surgical gloves buried in a trash can.
Heather Vitta, another forensic scientist with MSP, was called to testify about the results from the evidence gathered at the scene. She told the court that samples from the pair of gloves at the scene was a match for Gabrielle.
Kerry Shelton, a school principal, took the stand and told the court about Gabrielle time in preschool.
Shelton said Gabrielle was started the school year late was absent multiple times throughout the year.
Sgt. Elizabeth Egerer, of the Sumpter Township Police Department, was called to testify about the messages sent back and forth between Fields and Candice Diaz.
She read several of the messages aloud.
BRAD FIELDS: “I can’t believe she pissed her pants again.”
CANDICE DIAZ: “She’s getting it from me when I get home. Smack her a**.”
Some of the messages described how the couple would allegedly use cold showers as a form of punishment. The messages included other forms of punishment such as taking away her pants.
CANDICE DIAZ: "Then beat her a**."
BRAD FIELDS: "My nails already got her back good."
Several videos from the messenger app were entered into evidence.
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