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Grandmother knew of abuse, teen testifies

– A northern Indiana woman knew her son had abused his children for hours on the night he beat his 10-year-old son to death, the boy’s older brother has told a jury.

Dellia Castile, 53, is being tried on felony neglect charges, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Her 15-year-old grandson testified Friday that he and his 10-year-old brother Tramelle had been screaming for hours before Castile sent a relative to the basement to ask her son, Terry Sturgis, to stop beating them for a minute.

The teenager said that after Sturgis realized the younger boy wasn’t breathing, “My grandmother said she didn’t want to come downstairs and see Tramelle like this.”

Sturgis, 35, was sentenced in June to 140 years in prison for the Nov. 3 killing of Tramelle and a string of abuse-related charges.

Sturgis habitually beat and burned his three sons for years in the basement of the South Bend home he shared with Castile and other family members.

Defense lawyers say Castile lived upstairs, separately from her son, even though they lived in the same house.

Over repeated defense objections, the teenager told jurors that Castile knew for years that he and his siblings were being abused. He said Castile used cocoa butter to treat his injuries, and also said his grandmother tried to persuade Sturgis to give the children lesser punishments, such as mowing the grass or cleaning the house.

When a juror asked the teen whether he believed Castile feared her son, he said: “I don’t think it was being scared. I think it was just hard to choose between him and us.”