Darlene Phillips, the 64-year-old grandmother of 6-year-old Gerren Isgrigg, aka "Wylie's Angel," plead guilty to the murder of her grandson Wednesday and has been given a sentence of 28 years in prison.
Phillips entered the plea in an attempt to avoid dying in prison on a life sentence and to spare her family any possibility of further charges and the stress of a trial.
Last week Phillips was indicted on a second charge of injury to a disabled elderly person or child, a first-degree felony. She had previously been indicted for murder in connection with the boy's death.
The new charge made it possible for Phillips to enter a plea agreement and to have the original murder charge thrown out. In court Wednesday, Phillips plead guilty specifically to the third paragraph of the indictment which read as follows:
"Intends to cause serious bodily injury to an individual, namely, Gerren Isgrigg, Committ an act clearly dangerous to human life that caused the death of said (GI) by failing to provide necessary nourishment and failing to provide necessary medical care and by abandoning (GI) in a place he was unlikely to receive necessary care."
Phillips will be eligible for parole in roughly 13 years (half her sentence minus the year she's already served in jail).
Isgrigg was found on 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.
The boy, who was blind, deaf and had serious, violent seizures, needed to be fed through a feeding tube. He was believed to have been at the pond for three days before his body was found by a landscaper, according to the autopsy report.
Phillips told police she left the boy at the pond with a note attached to his clothing hoping someone else could help give him a better life. Isgrigg had been under his grandmother's care since being abandoned by his mother, Nyki Phillips, four years ago.
Isgrigg's father, Staff Sgt. Jerry Isgrigg, told NBCDFW in 2010 that a bad divorce, his deployments and base reassignments kept him from seeing his son during the last three years of his life. He added that he was unaware Phillips was acting as the primary caregiver and that his ex-wife never mentioned any issues with their son's care.
Isgrigg is expected to speak Thursday when victim impact statements will be heard by the court.