The boy’s mom lives out of state. She has arrived to pick up two other of her children who were living in the home.
Seconds later, the boy’s mother stood in the courtroom and yelled, “I hope you burn in jail . . . ”
The defendant, Tony Gonsoulin, 49, who lived near Apopka, did not react.Gonsoulin killed Cameron Palmer last summer.
Gonsoulin got angry with the boy, according to court records, took him to the bathroom, and when the child emerged, the toilet tank was shattered.
Authorities later found the child’s blood on the tank, wall and sink.
A short time later, a neighbor saw Gonsoulin dunk the boy in the pool and hold the child’s head underwater for about 30 seconds.
Someone then called paramedics, and they found the child barely breathing and coughing up water.
He was taken to a hospital, where he died the next day.
The boy and his two brothers lived in Franklin, La., with their parents but were spending the summer with their Uncle Tony.
On Monday, the victim’s father, John Palmer, burst into tears when he told the judge about his son.
“I agreed to let him go to Florida. I thought he’d be on vacation,” John Palmer said. His son “was robbed of his whole life. He was beaten. He was drowned. He was tortured. . . . Nothing can make the ache in my heart go away.”
Gonsoulin accepted a plea deal two weeks ago.
He pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and agreed to the 20-year term, so Monday’s sentence was no surprise.
What was a surprise was the mother’s outburst.
Heather Palmer had written a letter to the judge, and another family member read it.
“My soul cries for my son,” it said in part.
A short time later, Circuit Judge Marlene Alva pronounced Gonsoulin’s sentence.
Heather Palmer then stood in the back row and yelled at Gonsoulin, her uncle.
She was then ushered from the courtroom.