ATLANTA — In late 2017, 3-year-old KeJuan Mason took a cupcake out of the kitchen, an act so innocent it's hard to imagine reacting to it in any way other than just smiling and letting him eat it.
LaShirley Morris instead reacted violently.
She beat him with a baseball bat, which prosecutors later said left bruises all over the boy's body, while her sister, the boy's guardian Glenndria Morris, allegedly spanked him.
Police were later called to the "roach-infested" home in southwest Atlanta after a 911 call that said he wasn't breathing. Paramedics arrived and performed CPR, but the child died at the hospital.
The sisters were said to have claimed he choked on the cupcake.
But according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office, he died of blunt force trauma. The Fulton County District Attorney's Office said little KeJuan had bruises on his "legs, back, chest, buttocks, arm, and head."
"She told me out of her mouth before I got the autopsy back that he had been beaten about the cupcake," KeJuan's devastated grandmother said at a 2018 bond hearing for Glenndria.
In December, LaShirley Morris admitted her guilt, and will now spend life in prison with the possibility of parole.
The district attorney's office informed 11Alive of the non-negotiated guilty plea on Friday. They said it was submitted in Superior Court on Dec. 11. A copy of LaShirley Morris' final disposition says she pleaded guilty to murder, two felony murder counts, aggravated assault, cruelty to children in the first degree and cruelty to children in the third degree.
The case for Glenndria Morris is still pending, the DA's office said.
LaShirley's guilty plea brings her part of the tragic case to an end.
At the 2018 bond hearing, KeJuan's grandmother struggled through tears to make sense of her grandchild's death.
"I have five grandbabies. I had six. It is unfair," she said. "He was 3 years old. What can a baby do, 3 years old, to make you beat him to death?"
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct Morris' sentence.