SAN FRANCISCO
01/09/2012 05:41 pm ET Updated Mar 10, 2012

Shemeeka Davis Sentenced: Antioch Woman Gets Life In Prison For Murder Of Foster Child

An Antioch woman was sentenced Friday for brutally murdering her 15-year-old foster child after years of abuse.

Davis, 41, was convicted for years of abuse against her niece and foster child, Jazzmin Davis, which led to Jazzmin's death in 2008 at age 15. Jazzmin's twin brother survived a similar pattern of torture. The court handed Davis a 25 years to life sentence for Jazzmin's murder and and life in prison with the possibility of parole for her treatment of Jazzmin's brother, Bay City News reports:

On Sept. 2, 2008, Jazzmin's naked, gaunt and scarred body was found on the floor inside the Antioch home where for years, the only mother she had known abused her and her brother.

Police said that when she died, the teen was 5 foot 7 feet tall and weighed about 78 pounds.

A coroner's report found that she died from a combination of repeated physical abuse and malnutrition, Deputy District Attorney Satish Jallepalli said.

Davis allegedly kept Jazzmin and her brother locked in a tiny, dark closet for days on end. The children both showed physical signs of routine beatings, according to the Contra Costa Times.

"It was the type of thing you'd see in a prisoner of war camp," Antioch Police Lt. Leonard Orman told the Times. "Both kids had head-to-toe injuries."

Davis, the biological mother of three children whom authorities say did not suffer the same pattern of abuse, blamed her behavior on multiple mental illnesses. She sobbed heavily throughout Friday's hearing. "This was not my intention," she said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. "I can never find the words to express how sorry ... I wish I could change everything."

Davis' attorney, deputy public defender Betty Barker, said Davis had a delusional disorder that led her to believe Jazzmin would harm her 7-year-old daughter. "The truth of the matter is this happened to these children because Ms. Davis is very, very mentally ill," Barker said at the sentencing.

The Mercury News reports that Jazzmin loved her foster mother and wanted desperately to please her. "I want so bad to have a better relationship with her," the teenager wrote in her journal a year before she was found dead. "I love her so much."

Jazzmin's twin, who remains unidentified, was awarded a $4 million settlement from the San Francisco Human Services Agency.

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