Randy McIlwain, NBCDFW.com
Staff Sgt. Jerry Isgregg addressed the court in the trial of Darlene Phillips who plead guilty to murdering her 6-year-old named Gerren Isgrigg and told jurors he failed his son.
On Wednesday, Darlene Phillips, the 64-year-old grandmother of 6-year-old Gerren Isgrigg, plead guilty to the murder of her grandson and was handed a 28-year prison sentence.
The boy's body was found April 15, 2010, near a pond in Wylie. For several days investigators tried to identify the boy and find his family before Phillips turned herself in to authorities. It was later revealed that she was his sole caretaker and that the boy's mother had abandoned him and moved to Oklahoma. The boy's father, Staff Sgt. Jerry Isgrigg, was enlisted in the military.
Thursday, the court allowed for victim's impact statements to be heard. The boy's father was the only one to address the court.
After taking a deep breath, Isgrigg said this day had been a long time coming and that he'd spent a lot of time trying to put together what took place with his son and how it made him feel.
"I don't know what happened, but I failed as a father for my son," Isgrigg said. "I'm not the type of person to make a lot of excuses one way or another, [but] being in the military -- it keeps you away from your family. I don't know what happened the last couple years. I asked myself, if this went to trial, did I want to know everything that happened? I don't know."
Isgrigg reiterated that when given opportunities to see his son, something would get in the way that made it impossible. In the past, he'd told NBCDFW that his deployments, a bad divorce and base reassignments kept him from seeing Gerren.
"My son had a serious seizure disorder, but I didn't love him any less," Isgrigg said. "I treated him like he was a normal child. I'd hold him, I'd love him. We'd sit and watch TV even though I know there's no way he'd understand it. He couldn't talk ... but [he] had probably the best smile I've ever seen in my life."
"He was the best thing that happened in my entire life. I couldn't ask for anything better than that," Isgrigg said. "The biggest thing I know is I'll never have him again. I'm never going to be able to sit at his bedside at the hospital, or home, to hold him, try to comfort him. That's gone. I'll never get it back."
Phillips will be eligible for parole in about 13 years.
NBCDFW's Randy McIlwain contributed to this report.