A wild scene unfolded in a South Carolina courtroom on Thursday when two former lovers became hysterical after receiving a pair of life sentences for the murder of a three-year-old girl.
Shocking video shows court officials struggling to assist a distressed Erica Mae Butts and Shanita Latrice Cunningham, both charged with homicide by child abuse in connection to the death of Serenity Richardson.
Following Circuit Judge Deadra Jefferson's announcement of the life sentences, both Butts and Cunningham collapsed to the floor on Thursday as emotional screams came from family members watching from the court room gallery. Authorities proceeded to individually wheel both women out of the court room.
The defendants, both 25, were living together as a couple in 2009, when police discovered the toddler covered in cuts and bruises, the Charleston Post and Courrier reports. Butts, identified as the child's godmother, was caring for Serenity while her mother, Ieshia Richardson, moved from Detroit.
"All I ask is that justice be served for her today. That she finally can seriously rest in peace, and then maybe, just maybe I can breathe a breath of fresh air," said Richardson, according to CBS affiliate WCSC.