🔴 The 28-year-old mom told police that her baby had been adbucted in February 2019

🔴 The truth was that the little boy had been beaten to death and his body gruesomely desecrated

🔴 Jury found her guilty after the defense claimed the death was unintentional

BRIDGETON — A South Jersey mom was sentenced in April to life in prison after a jury convicted her of murdering her 23-month-old son, burning his body, and leaving the remains in her backyard.

She will serve a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

Nakira Griner, 28, reported her son was missing to police around 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 8, 2019, claiming that she had been attacked and that someone had abducted her son, Daniel Griner Jr. A search effort unfolded with help from State Police bloodhounds and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

But before the sun rose the next morning, police had found the child's burnt remains in her yard around 3 a.m. An autopsy found that the child had been beaten to death, authorities said.

Nakira Griner with husband, son in 2017. At right, Daniel Griner (via Facebook/Bridgeton police)
Nakira Griner with husband, son in 2017. At right, Daniel Griner Jr. (via Facebook/Bridgeton police)

Griner had been offered a plea deal in October 2019. Prosecutors offered a 30-year prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to the murder charge. She declined and instead chose to go to trial.

In opening remarks, Griner's defense attorney said that the mother admitted to burning and dismembering her son's body but denied intentionally killing the child, according to NJ.com. It was also reported that expert testimony showed the toddler's skull had been broken into 74 pieces and that the body had been burnt in an oven.

Nakira Griner gets life for murder of young son (Cumberland County Jail, Bridgeton Police)
Nakira Griner gets life for murder of young son (Cumberland County Jail, Bridgeton Police)

The trial lasted two weeks. At the end of jury deliberation, Griner was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder, second-degree desecrating human remains, fourth-degree tampering with evidence, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and second-degree false public alarm.

In addition to the life sentence, a judge also sentenced Griner to seven years for second-degree desecration of human remains.

Gone for years: NJ's longest-missing people


Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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