HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Julia Tomlin, who pleaded guilty to the murder of her 2-year-old son Noah, was sentenced Monday to 55 years in prison. That’s the maximum sentence she could have received.

She pleaded guilty back in December to charges of second-degree murder, child abuse and neglect and concealment of a body. She entered the plea as charged, and it wasn’t a plea agreement.

Julia Tomlin received: 

  • 40 years for 2nd-degree murder 
  • 5 for concealment 
  • 10 years for abuse and neglect 

Police found Noah’s body at the Hampton Steam Plant back in July 2019 after a week of searching.

Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell said the child was tortured, based on the autopsy results.

Bell says there was a pattern of child abuse by Tomlin, and the system failed Noah. Tomlin was convicted of child neglect in the past after placing her 1-year-old daughter on a hot stove.

“All I can say is she should have never had custody over that child,” Bell said.

Prosecutors say this is a case that gripped the entire community because of the way Noah was found. 

“When it comes to kids you’re supposed to be their protector, not the predator. So when we have parents that prey on their kids and they fail to do what’s necessary to protect them, I think everything should be thrown at them,” said Bell. “We’ve got to send a message to the community that we are not going to tolerate that.” 

Investigators say Noah’s body was put in a pampers box inside a trash bag and then dumped at the Hampton steam plant. Investigators believe the child’s body was driven there. 

“When you commit a violent crime, it impacts the community. But when you hurt a child, it’s so much more devastating to the community,” said Bell. 

Julia Tomlin sat in the courtroom and shed tears as she was given the maximum sentence for the death of her 2-year-old son. 

The medical examiner says this is the case she remembers all too well because the head injuries were so severe. 

“The medical examiner said they were so severe that they were comparable to someone falling multiple stories, you don’t bounce back from that,” said Bell. 

The medical examiner testified saying Noah suffered a severe skull fracture that’s consistent of being grabbed from the legs and being swung against a wall. 

The medical examiner also said Noah’s body had prior trauma. She said Noah suffered a jaw fracture and several broken ribs but she doesn’t believe that is from the time of his death. 

Prosecutors say Tomlin admitted to murdering her son on June 22. She didn’t report him missing until the 24. His body wasn’t found until July 3. It was examined on July 4. 

Commonwealth’s Attorney Bell says Noah wasn’t abused; he was tortured. 

Prosecutors say Tomlin showed no remorse at the time of the crime because of the steps she took to cover up what she did. 

Her attorney said she was under the influence of heroin and alcohol at the time of Noah’s death. He referenced past trauma and asked the judge to give her 25 years instead because she’s already accepted responsibility for what she did. He believed that would be enough time in prison for Tomlin’s rehabilitation.

The judge said he took her past into consideration, but said “every life is precious” and “Noah had a lot of life left to live.”

“You don’t torture someone and then say ‘I feel remorseful toward that person’,” said Bell. “You’re remorseful that you got caught.” 

Tomlin’s 19-year-old daughter also took the stand Monday. 

In her testimony, she said every one of Tomlin’s kids is left with physical and mental disabilities because of her care. 

She said no one deserves what her brother had to go through. 

“To see someone who had to experience that on multiple occasions at 2, at some point you have to say enough is enough,” said Bell. 

Bell says death was a welcome friend to Noah, and life in prison should be a welcome friend to Julia Tomlin. 

“It’s absolutely heart-wrenching that he had to die, that he had to suffer like he did, but that day, death was a welcome friend because this kid had been through the worst of the worst,” said Bell. 

Tomlin’s attorney did not wish to comment on the outcome of the case. 

Tomlin also didn’t make a statement in front of the court when the judge asked her if she wanted to speak.