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Mother charged with killing her 2-year-old shrugs at death penalty possibility

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When 2-year-old Glenara Bates died, she was 13 pounds — a weight more typical for a 3-month-old.

The day she was killed, prosecutors say her father swung her and slammed her against a door. She cried … and then silence.

Her mother, prosecutors say, constantly beat her.

On Thursday, a year and a half after Glenara died, her mother, Andrea Bradley, who could face the death penalty, appeared in court and told a judge she does not care if she dies.

“It don’t matter what I want,” Bradley, 30, said in court, according to ABC affiliate WCPO. “Give the world what they want. The world want the death penalty, give it to them. I don’t care.”

Bradley, who appeared in court in handcuffs and shackles, was indicted last year of murder, aggravated murder and endangering children. The child’s father, Glen Bates, was found guilty on Monday of the same charges after a trial in Hamilton County, Ohio. Bates, 34, is facing the death penalty after a jury recommended the sentence on Wednesday, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. A judge will decide later this month if she will accept the jury’s recommendation.

The abuse Glenara faced likely wasn’t a shock to county officials in Ohio — she was briefly placed in foster care after she was born in January 2013.

Still, officials placed Glenara back in her parents’ Cincinnati home, where, court records say, she endured abuse at the hands of her parents for the rest of her short life.

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Glenara’s maternal grandmother, Desana Bradley, says that social services officials knew the toddler was being abused — and still left her with her parents.

Glenara was “removed from the cruel and inhumane custody of her parents … and then thrown back into that squalor and depravity,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed against the Hamilton County Job and Family Services, its caseworkers and county officials. The complaint also states that Glenara had five other siblings, most of whom had been in foster care at some point.

A Cincinnati jury found Glen Bates guilty of the murder of his daughter Sept. 26. (Video: WCPO)

“The evidence is clear that Glenara Bates should never have died on March 29, 2015,” Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rick Gibson said during his closing arguments. “She was literally beaten from head to toes, scars over scars, bruises, abrasions, burns.”

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Glenara’s 10-year-old sister testified during the trial that she saw Bates swing the toddler.

“I saw her head get banged on the wall. … I guess they got mad,” the 10-year-old said. “He hit her, he held her and hit her head against the wall.”

The 10-year-old also testified about how her mother, Bradley, treated the toddler.

“My mom didn’t like her, so she got … beat,” she said.

Some of the details of the abuse are too horrifying to recount.

Bradley, who has yet to stand trial, rejected a plea deal that would’ve spared her the death sentence. Her attorneys argue that she’s not mentally competent to stand trial; Bradley has an IQ of 67, which falls below the threshold for death penalty sentences, according to NBC affiliate WLWT.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long banned executing people with mental disability, but they’ve left it up to individual states to determine who’s considered mentally disabled. The common standard, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, is an IQ of 70 or below.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed last December by Glenara’s maternal grandmother, Bradley took her daughter to the hospital in December 2014. Doctors and medical staff noted that she was malnourished, severely underweight and unable to walk. At that time, Glenara weighed a little over 17 pounds, the complaint says.

Glenara was taken back to her parents’ home after the hospital visit, and the abuse was not reported to police as required by state law. In Ohio, failure to report suspicion of abuse or neglect is considered a misdemeanor. It’s unclear whether anyone has been charged for not reporting the abuse.

By the time Glenara died three months later, she had lost four more pounds, weighing less than half of what an average 2-year-old girl should weigh, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gibson, the prosecuting attorney, was not available for comment Tuesday. Bates’s attorney, Norm Aubin, did not return a call seeking comment. But during his closing arguments Monday, he shifted the blame to Bradley, who, Aubin said, was around her children more and was responsible for feeding Glenara, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

“I do not believe he purposely intended to cause the death of his child,” Aubin told jurors.

Bradley’s attorney, William Welsh, also did not return a call from The Washington Post. But Welsh told the Enquirer last year that Bradley herself was abused and manipulated by Bates.

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In a statement to ABC affiliate WCPO, Moira Weir, director for Hamilton County Job and Family Services who’s also a defendant in the lawsuit, said that a preliminary review showed that “we failed to follow our own policies and procedures” in Glenara’s case.

“We are conducting further internal reviews and will also have an independent reviewer examine our casework and practice,” Weir said in the statement.

This post has been updated.

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