Gloria Williams, the woman who kidnapped a newborn baby from a Jacksonville hospital 20 years ago, testified at her sentencing hearing Friday that she had just had a miscarriage and was in an abusive relationship when she took Kamiyah Mobley.
Williams said she didn’t get on I-95 South planning to enter a hospital and steal a baby, but that’s what she found herself doing after meeting Mobley’s birth mother.
“After me and Ms. Mobley was talking, it was like she was so young and she wasn’t real sure about what she was going to do,” Mobley said in footage streamed by our partner News4Jax. “And just my mindset at that time wasn’t logical. It definitely wasn’t logical, but for what I was thinking at that time, it seemed right.”
Williams brought the baby to South Carolina and renamed her Alexis.
Her defense strategy focused on Williams’ alleged broken state when she took the baby and the good care she took of Kamiyah as she raised her as her own daughter.
During the hearing she apologized to Mobley’s birth parents, saying she never had apologized because her lawyers advised her not to, but she has wanted to.
“I can’t explain where I was at that time in my life. It wasn’t a good place, and that’s not your problem,” she said. “I just know that looking at you, hearing about you, I hurt you in a major way, both of you. Your life hasn’t been the same, and for that I’m sorry.”
During the first day of the hearing, Mobley’s biological mother Shanara Mobley emotionally testified how the abduction rocked her life, saying Williams should get the maximum sentence, or even death if it were a possibility.
“She’s not sorry. She’s making all of this about her,” Mobley said. “It is not about her. She’s not sorry, never apologized.”
During the Friday hearing, Williams also broke down in tears while apologizing to Kamiyah, the girl she raised as Alexis.
“I just love that child so, and I never meant to hurt you, and I never meant to cause you any harm, any pain,” she said.
Williams spoke about the day she told Mobley her real name was Kamiyah and she was abducted. Mobley had wanted to get a job and was asking for her birth certificate and Social Security card. Williams said she offered to turn herself in then, but the teen she had raised as her own didn’t want her to.
Jacksonville detectives contacted Williams close to two years later and asked for Mobley’s DNA.
“She wanted me to run,” Williams said. “I told her I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t leave her. I couldn’t have a life like that.”
The prosecutor pressed Williams on saying she had thought about taking Mobley back but never did, as well as the chance at making memories she took from Mobley’s biological family. He also asked Williams how much punishment she thinks she deserves.
“That’s not my choice,” she said. “I’m not sure. I can’t answer that.”
He brought up the time gap of several months between when Williams said she miscarried and when she abducted the baby.
“I didn't know there was a time limit on how you could mourn,” Williams answered.
He argued the crime was premeditated. For example, Mobley was wearing her work scrubs when she entered the hospital. He also questioned why she would have kept a car seat in her vehicle even after miscarrying.
As News4Jax reports, the kidnapping charge carries a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison, and an interference charge has a maximum sentence of five years. Those sentences would be able to be served concurrently, meaning the most prison time Williams could face is 22 years.
Judge Marianne Aho said she's planning to announce a sentence June 8 at 10:30 a.m. She's requesting transcripts from the hearing which takes about 10 days.
"I know that it may seem like a while to wait for a month but I really want to have these transcripts and I want to make sure I can work on my orders so that I'm satisfied that I have been as thorough as possible," she said.
News4Jax contributed to this article.
Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.