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Family Decries Sentence In Grandmother’s Murder

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Nellie Hocutt's granddaughter's Ashley Whitfield (L), Sonique Graham (R)

Nellie Hocutt’s granddaughter’s Ashley Whitfield (L), Sonique Graham (R)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The family of a 91-year-old Bronx grandmother says the sentence handed down to one of the elderly woman’s killers is not enough.

Family members of Nellie Hocutt were consoling themselves in the courtroom Tuesday after hearing the sentence of 25 years to life for defendant Nadine Panton.

“It’s not enough,” the victim’s granddaughter Sonique Graham told CBS 2’s John Slattery, “if she could have got life that would have been a lot better.”

The 35-year-old Panton, had been found guilty of the crime largely based on the video statement she made blaming her accomplice, Sparkle Daniel, who has already been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

The pair was found guilty in the 2003 suffocation death of Hocutt. It occurred as part of a gruesome robbery and killing at the elderly woman’s Laconia Avenue home in Williamsbridge.

“She’s like a disease. She’s like a disease in the form of a human being,” grandson Kieron Whitfield said.

The victim had been forced to guzzle wine and rubbing alcohol and then was strangled and suffocated with a grocery bag. Both Panton and Daniel got away with $120 and a half dozen bath towels.

“My grandmother suffered. She was tortured as you can hear and see and there’s no sentence that can adequately punish Nadine or Sparkle for what they did,” Graham said.

“I only thought stuff like that happened on TV. I didn’t think that people actually would murder someone in that way,” granddaughter Ashley Whitfield said.

In court, Panton told the victim’s family members, “I’m sorry for the pain I caused, and there is nothing I can do to take back what happened.”

Panton and Daniel will both spend at least 25 years behind bars for murder and robbery.

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