Barbara Grice was sentenced to 36 months in prison on Friday for bringing a gun with the intention to shoot her sister at Elberta Elementary back in Feb. 2015.
A shot was fired, which a janitor found a week later in the cafeteria.
Many of the employees who heard the shots were in court on Friday to recount the harrowing events that took place that day.
“She did intend to kill me,” Grice’s sister Catherine Partin told Judge William H. Steele.
Parten was visibly emotional as she looked at her sister and said that she had pleaded for her life.
Parten said that more than a year later, she still has children at the school who ask her “where is the bad lady with the gun?”
Pointedly, she said that what her sister did still gives her nightmares.
Following Parten, her colleagues told Judge Steele their own stories of what they experienced that day when mass confusion and fear shook the school.
“I didn’t know if the gunman was coming to us next,” said teacher Janet Golfos, who also had a child attending the school. “I was prepared to shield the kids, getting ready to lay over children’s bodies to protect them,” she said. “I’ve had many sleepless nights.”
Grice’s daughter Nicki Silkwood defended her mother and said that her mother wasn’t the same person she normally was when she entered the school. She cited alcohol and drug abuse caused by the loss of her late father as the reason Grice acted out.
“That wasn’t my momma,” Silkwood emotionally pleaded with the judge. “She needs help.”
Grice herself made an emotional plea to the judge for a second chance. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I wouldn’t hurt babies.”
Judge Steele explained that he took both the fear the children at the school experienced as well as the psychological issues that Grice has into play when he made his decision.
“I can’t fix you,” said Judge Steele. But he did recommend drug, alcohol and mental health counseling to correspond with her 36-month sentence.
Grice still faces more time in the courtroom on state charges, which Judge Steele made a point of saying would be a lot tougher.
Her attorney, John Beck, said that he understood how the teachers felt and thought the judge made a fair call.
Grice will be in Baldwin County Circuit court in April to face attempted murder, second degree burglary and making a terrorist threat.