• The baby girl died on Dec. 3, 2018
  • Boniello, her grandfather's girlfriend, was babysitting the baby at the time of the incident
  • She was initially charged with child abandonment and later with capital murder
  • She was sentenced to life in prison without parole
  • The family of the toddler expressed discontent in the verdict

A 32-year-old transgender woman has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2018 murder of her live-in boyfriend’s 20-month-old granddaughter.

Shayla Angeline Boniello, formerly known as Shawn Vincent Boniello, was sentenced to life in prison without parole by a Texas court. She pleaded guilty to capital murder on Thursday, reported People.

On Dec. 3, 2018, the 20-month-old baby, Patricia Ann Rader, was found unresponsive by an emergency crew at her grandfather’s home in Rockdale. The paramedics performed CPR at the scene but could not revive the baby.

Boniello was in charge of babysitting Rader at the time of the incident. She was arrested on the evening of the same day. She was initially charged with child abandonment/endangerment after police discovered marijuana at the scene. She was also charged with capital murder on Dec. 4 after her arrest.

She reportedly admitted to the police that she slapped, shook and squeezed the baby to the point of unconsciousness. She said that the torture went on for over three minutes until the baby stopped moving.

Boniello also confessed that she squeezed the baby "until she felt her bones begin to pop and crush," according to an arrest affidavit as per Crime Online. The affidavit also indicated that the toddler had been found dead with scratches, bruising and swollen knots on her head, neck, arms, stomach and legs.

Boniello reportedly admitted to the police that she she slapped, shook, and squeezed the toddler until unconscious. pixabay

Boniello met Rader’s grandfather, Michael Matthews, on a dating website. Boniello later moved to Rockdale and lived with Matthews, reported KXXV.

Matthews was appointed as a temporary custodian of Rader by a Milam County judge on May 4, 2018. It was reported that Matthews was at work during the time of the murder.

The family expressed their discontent in the court verdict. They were expecting the death penalty for Boniello instead of life imprisonment.

"Boniello showed Annie (Rader) absolutely no mercy whatsoever, so in my opinion the defendant doesn’t deserve any mercy either and to me this was mercy," KXXV quoted Rachel Bond, the great-aunt of the baby, as saying.

Prosecutors said that they would seek the death penalty for Boniello. They then realized that it would be impossible after they were recently provided with evidence that Boniello had been suffering from a traumatic brain injury.

"Boniello’s nonviolent past and traumatic brain injury would render any death verdict insufficient and thus be reversed on appeal," KWTX quoted Milam County District Attorney Bill Torrey as saying.

Boniello also waived all her rights to appeal.

Although the sentence has been declared, the family said they were determined to honor Rader's life through advocacy. They said that their fight was not over and they wanted to ensure that this tragedy would never happen to any other innocent children.