Candice Nicole Boles was sentenced to 30 years to serve for her part in the death of her 3-year-old daughter, Andraia Boles, in February 2013.
Boles had pleaded guilty to first-degree felony cruelty to children and second-degree cruelty to children during a hearing in June.
Monday’s hearing before Liberty County Superior Court Judge Paul Rose was to determine Boles’ sentence.
The case revolved around the final days and months leading up to the toddler’s death, which was caused by substantial blunt-force trauma.
Boles’ husband and co-defendant, Torres Boles, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after he was found guilty of causing the little girl’s death during his trial in September 2014.
Recalling the brutality of the young girl’s beating and the circumstances of how the toddler was forced to live days and hours on end in the couple’s bathroom, Rose described the crime as horrific, saying, “This case literally shakes your soul.”
Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Doug Snider, who was the lead detective in the case when he was employed by the Hinesville Police Department, briefly went over the circumstances of the child’s death.
“There was blood everywhere,” he said regarding the morning he arrived at the Boles’ house to investigate the call of the unresponsive child and stepped into the crime scene — the bathroom. Snider went on to say that the evidence presented during the husband’s criminal trial and subsequent hearings that took place in juvenile court pointed to the fact that Andraia Boles received the brunt of all the physical abuse.
Snider recalled testimony of physical scars, such as a severely swollen eye and substantial swelling to the head. He spoke about evidence presented by expert witnesses proving the child had scarring and markings throughout her body, indicating a history of abuse. He said the investigation revealed the couple would lock up the toddler in the bathroom sometimes for more than eight hours a day, and had been doing so for six months or longer. In February 2013, Boles came home and found that the young girl had stuffed toilet paper down the toilet, clogging the drain and flooding the bathroom, bedroom and part of the living room carpet. That resulted in the punishment that eventually led to her death.
Candice Boles’ attorney, Stephen Yekel, described his client as a woman who was intimidated and “beaten down” by her husband. Yekel said Boles was a woman who feared that her husband would do harm to her and her second daughter if she challenged her husband’s authority.
Boles took the stand to offer her testimony in the case.
Boles said she and her husband moved to Liberty County from Germany when Torres Boles, who was an Army specialist, was transferred to Fort Stewart. The couple were already parents to older sibling Daria, and Boles said trouble started around the time she became pregnant with Andraia. Boles testified that her husband often hinted that he thought the child was not his.
Based on testimony, a paternity test confirming Torres Boles was the father was done after her death.
Candice Boles added that she feared her husband’s temper.
“His presence was a little overpowering, and more so after we had Andraia,” Boles said on the witness stand.
Boles went on to say that her husband controlled the finances, but she was still required to pay for her children’s day care and other needs, certain house bills and her student loans. She was formerly employed at Enterprise Rent-a-Car, where she brought home $350 every two weeks.
She said he often belittled her and at times did try to harm her.
“It was mostly pushing and choking,” she said.
She added that she never called police because, “I always thought it was my fault. He talked down to me a lot, like I wasn’t important or good enough for him.”
Boles said she stopped trying to cross her husband in order to defuse his anger. She admitted she made mistakes in not calling 911 the morning she found her little girl unresponsive. Throughout her testimony, Boles kept saying she felt isolated and unable to seek help from her family or neighbors.
Atlantic Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Melissa Poole argued on behalf of the state, saying that Boles should have done more to protect her daughter from her husband’s abusive hands.
She added that Boles was lax in checking up on the toddler after the beating that led to her death.
The prosecutor argued that the abuse was ongoing and that Boles never attempted to seek help for her daughter.
She argued that Boles had many opportunities to seek help and that, as a nursing student, she should have known the injuries the child had sustained were serious enough to require immediate medical attention.
“You failed to do what, as a mother, you are supposed to do, which is protect your child,” Poole said, adding that instead, Boles allowed the child to take the brunt of all the punishment while remaining largely unscathed from abuse herself.
Boles cried throughout the hearing and said she grieves daily.
Rose also questioned why she failed to call 911.
While on the stand, Boles said she didn’t think the injuries were serious enough to require immediate medical attention.
“I thought she would be OK and that I would just patch her up like I’ve done before, and we would just move forward,” she said.
Rose said that based on what he heard in Monday’s hearing and the evidence presented at Torres Boles’ criminal trial, Candice Boles deserved the maximum sentence.
Boles, 29, was immediately remanded to serve her 30-sentence, with credit for time served.