HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Julia Tomlin, the Hampton woman charged in the death of her 2-year-old son, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Tomlin pleaded guilty in court Tuesday morning to the murder charge, child abuse and neglect and concealment of a body. It is important to note this was not a plea agreement; she entered the plea as charged.
Her son, Noah Tomlin, disappeared in 2019. After a week of searching, police found his body at the Hampton Steam Plant on one of the hottest days that summer.
After his autopsy results were released, Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell said the child was tortured.
Tomlin’s case was originally supposed to go to trial next month. Bell said the community was invested and he was prepared to go to trial next month. However, when Tomlin wanted to enter a guilty plea as charged, he legally had to accept it.
During his court statement Tuesday morning, Bell spoke about how Julia Tomlin initially said she put Noah to bed, and when she woke up, he was gone. She then changed her story saying she was high on heroin and left Noah in the bathtub where he drowned. She told officials she called her friend Tim to help dispose of the body and clean up the home. However, Bell said even that story isn’t the truth as the autopsy results revealed Noah died from blunt force trauma and battered child syndrome. Bell said his body was beaten so bad, it was like he fell off a multi-story building. Bell also stated Noah’s skull was cracked in half.
“I don’t really call this case justice, I call it accountability. Justice to me puts you back at the place you were before the crime, and I don’t think you can ever put back into the situation. This community still mourns the loss of Noah,” Bell told WAVY News 10.
Her sister, Theresa Tomlin, says despite what happened in court, her sister is innocent and only pleaded guilty out of fear. Theresa claimed Tuesday morning that Noah had fallen off his bed and hit his head on a nearby toy chest.
“She’s so terrified because the whole nation is after her, I had to change my name for three months. I know the truth, and they wouldn’t let me give it,” said Theresa Tomlin.
Bell says this case revealed a pattern of child abuse that spiraled.
As far back as 12 years ago, Julia Tomlin was convicted of child neglect 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,” said Bell.
Bell stated there was no doubt the system failed Noah way before his death.
Tomlin’s sentencing is scheduled for March 18 and prosecutors are seeking the maximum amount of prison time, which is 55 years.
At the sentencing, Bell says he will be calling the Medical Examiner to the stand.