Spring Hill, Florida -- A woman who'd been convicted of torturing her teenaged nephew learned her fate today.
Tai-Ling Gigliotti faced up to 60 years in prison. She was convicted of abusing her teenaged nephew, who had come to the U.S. from Taiwan several years ago. Instead of a six month visit, prosecutors say it turned into years of torture and abuse.
Gigliotti stood before the court, convicted of beating, periodically caging and torturing her teenaged nephew in the bathroom of their Spring Hill home. It was abuse that took place over the course of years, said prosecutors, until the teen escaped in early 2009.
Background Info: More stories on the Tai-Ling Gigliotti case
Her lawyers argued the boy was violent, a sexual deviant, and a liar. But circuit judge Jack Springstead rejected several last-minute motions for a mistrial, saying the boy's behavior wasn't the issue.
"I have seen the pictures of the welts, the bruising, the bleeding, the cuts, the scars. And those didn't just happen. He did not do it to himself," said the judge.
Before imposing sentence, the court heard from several character witnesses, including videotaped testimony from Gigliotti's mother, and an impassioned plea for leniency from a college roommate.
Others were more critical, including the victim himself, who said his aunt had betrayed her family and robbed him and his mother -- who still lives in Taiwan -- of a normal relationship.
Judge Springstead then sentenced the 51-year-old to 12 years in prison, followed by three years probation.
"Her failure to this day to accept responsibility for her actions or to admit any wrongdoing, express any contrition regret or remorse says it all," said the judge.
Afterward, Gigliotti addressed the court, saying she was in fact remorseful, but that only led to a heated exchange with judge Springstead.
"I am sorry for the scandal and the disturbance that my family tragedy has created," said Gigliotti. But the judge then interrupted.
"No, your actions created that, ma'am. Let's be clear. Your actions created this problem," said judge Springstead.
Gigliotti's defense lawyers vowed to appeal on several grounds. They accuse Gigliotti's nephew of lying, and say state workers failed to provide information or were slow to provide facts that could have been relevant before the trial.
Her attorney concedes Gigliotti's last minute confrontation probably didn't help her legal cause.
"She has a very strong will, a very strong personality. And she said what she felt," said defense attorney Jimmy Brown, "and she would not be true to herself if she didn't."
Gigliotti's fiance Anton Angelo pleaded guilty to a single charge of child abuse in April, and was given five years probation in exchange for his testimony against Gigliotti at her trial.
Her lawyers tell us Gigliotti is - and has been - on suicide watch.
Eric Glasser, 10 Connects