April Gadson buried her hands in her face and wiped tears from her eyes as the jurors who will decide if her son lives or dies filed by the witness stand Tuesday.
Moments earlier, she had recalled when her grandson Ellijah was born in 2006.
I looked into his little face and I saw my son Andre, she told jurors.
Asked about the relationship between Andre Hampton and Ellijah, Gadson replied: They were inseparable.
The jurors last week convicted Hampton, 27, of murder for beating 23-month-old Ellijah to death in November 2008. Now they must determine his punishment life in prison without parole or death.
What happened was not normal and out of character for Andre, Gadson told the jurors. This was something Andre would not have done on a normal day.
Gadson said she normally visits her son in jail every week.
I cant wait to put my arms around my baby, she said.
Defense attorneys Norman Butler and Joe VonKallist are trying to save Hamptons life. Theyve presented evidence that Hampton suffered from depression and an anxiety disorder and was under stress trying to provide for his family. They also called witnesses to testify about the beatings Hampton received from the men in his mothers life.
Gadson acknowledged Tuesday that she had spanked her children with a paddle, switch, brush and shoe. She spanked them, she said, to enforce what I had told them not to do.
I was especially hard on my boys, she told the jurors. They had to grow up to be men. There were going to be black men in this society. They were going to have it hard.
Arielle Hampton told jurors Tuesday that her brother Andre was her protector since she was a little girl.
She also called Hampton her inspiration.
She told jurors that she receives a letter from him every week from jail. Her brother, she said, encourages her to do something better with her life.
Ive got to have my brother here, Arielle Hampton, weeping on the witness stand, told jurors.
On Monday, prosecution witnesses testified about the extensive injuries that Ellijah sustained while being beaten to death by his father in November 2008.
Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Owens testified that Ellijah endured a tremendous amount of pain and suffering while being beaten to death.
Hampton confessed during a videotaped interview to beating Ellijah with a toothbrush, a hairbrush and a belt. His son, he told the homicide detective, wouldnt eat his soup.