The death of Bradley McGee
Bradley Gene McGee was tortured and
beaten to death 15 years ago.
Thanks to our senseless courts, one of his
callous killers is free to strike again.
Bradley died at the age of two.
It`s the age when a happy boy`s life is preoccupied with Teletubbies,
choo-choo trains, Cheerios, sippy cups, and Velcro-strap sneakers with tiny red
lights that blink when you stomp your feet. It is also the age for
potty-training, when a little boy needs loving parents or guardians with patience,
devotion, and good humor.
Bradley`s murderers possessed none
of these traits. On a summer day in 1989, they punished him for soiling his
pants by plunging him headfirst in a toilet. Again and again and again.
The man who rammed Bradley`s head repeatedly into the ceramic fixture
was his stepfather, Thomas Coe. The woman who covered Bradley`s mouth
to stop him from screaming—the woman who then sat by the bathtub, lit a
cigarette and watched the little boy`s torment—was the woman who gave
birth to Bradley, Sheryl Hardy.
Coe and Hardy then dragged Bradley
into the living room of their mobile home, where they beat him over the
head with couch cushions until he fell to the floor unconscious. Bradley died
of massive brain hemorrhaging at a nearby hospital hours later.
To call Sheryl Hardy a “mother”
would be an unforgivable desecration of the word. When Bradley was four months
old, she and Coe took him to a local mall. They left
baby Bradley with a pretzel vendor and walked away.
It was the best thing that happened
in Bradley`s cruelly short life.
Child welfare officials placed him in
emergency foster care in Winter Haven, Florida. He was immediately
embraced by Sandra “Kip” Liles and her husband.
Mrs. Liles has nurtured some 200
abused and neglected children, showering each one with much-needed attention
and gentle care. On a web site dedicated to Bradley`s memory, she posted
poignant photos of the cherubic-faced baby`s first smiles and first haircut.
He was, she said, a “heavenly
angel.” Taken from earth too soon.
When Sheryl Hardy learned that
Bradley`s foster parents wanted to adopt him, she petulantly petitioned for
custody. Sixty-six days after being returned to Hardy and Coe—the same heartless
couple that had abandoned him as a newborn—Bradley was dead.
At trial, Hardy revealed the
horrific abuse she and Coe administered to Bradley. She had forced him to eat
his own feces. Made him stand by her bed all night as she and Coe slept. And
allowed Coe to punch the little boy`s genitals. The medical examiner
reported more than 90 cuts and bruises on Bradley`s battered body.
On the stand, Hardy offered excuse
after excuse for Bradley`s torture and murder. She said she was abused as
a child and beaten by Coe. The shameless sob stories didn`t work with the
jury. She was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 30 years.
Coe was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse and
sentenced to life in prison.
Due largely to Kip Liles` efforts,
Bradley`s murder led to reform of Florida`s custody and child welfare
laws. Parents across the country sent toys and teddy bears and childhood
mementos that still adorn Bradley`s gravesite in Lakeland, Florida.
But justice has not yet been
served. Sheryl Hardy was released after nine years due to prison overcrowding
and moved back to her home state of Illinois. She gave birth to another
little boy, now 3. Like Bradley, the child named Billy has been in
foster care for most of his life. Like Bradley, Billy has now been put
back in the custody of a woman who has no business being anywhere near
children. Earlier this month, the Illiniois Supreme Court refused to overturn a
lower court ruling that there wasn`t enough evidence to prove that Hardy
was a negligent or abusive parent.
Bradley`s battered body and
tot-sized coffin should have been proof enough.
The court put its faith in Sheryl
Hardy`s "rehabilitation" and completion of parenting classes. But the people
most familiar with her crimes know best:
“She`s an evil person, a
murderess,“ Paul Schaill of the Fort Meade, Fla., police department, told the
Associated Press. `[Billy] is going to end up dead, too.“
Kip Liles is doing all she can to
warn the public and media of the threat Hardy poses to her new child:
"There is no sound, no cry in all the world, that can be heard unless someone is
Unless more concerned parents open
their eyes, ears, and hearts, Hardy will kill again.
Michelle Malkin [email
her] is author of
Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores.
here for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click
here for Michelle Malkin`s website.
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