MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Eli Hart's mother Julissa Thaler has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering her 6-year-old son on May 20, 2022.
Thaler was sentenced Thursday, Feb. 16, to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted of first-degree murder. Before the judge handed down her sentence, she said she was innocent, used an expletive and called everyone "garbage." (Watch in the player above.)
Prior to her sentencing, Eli's dad, Tory Hart, and his stepmom, Josie Josephson, both spoke, at points dabbing away tears. (Watch in the player below.)
"We now have legal closure on this heartbreaking tragedy. But nothing will ever fill the void in the world that Eli left behind. I hope his family can slowly move forward and eventually find some level of peace," Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said in a statement on Thursday.
Authorities said Thaler, 29, of Spring Park, shot Eli up to nine times with a shotgun in her vehicle and then hid his body in the trunk. Orono Police pulled Thaler over on May 20, 2022, after she was spotted driving on the rim of her car and had a window smashed out. Officers drove Thaler home and discovered Eli's body in the trunk. She was then arrested.
Meanwhile, Eli Hart's father, Tory Hart, filed a wrongful death lawsuit earlier this year related to his son's killing, seeking more than $75,000 in damages. The lawsuit says Dakota County Social Services provided services to Eli, with Tory Hart claiming the county and its employees were negligent. Dakota County and two Dakota County employees, Sherri Larson and Beth Dehner, were named in the lawsuit.
Tory Hart had been fighting for custody of his son prior to his death. Tory Hart's now-wife, Josie Josephson, told FOX 9 the boy's mother struggled with drug addiction and mental health issues, and despite their repeated calls for help, his biological mom was awarded full custody of Eli before his death.