JACKSONVILLE, FL (WCSC) - The Colleton County woman who allegedly raised a baby she kidnapped as her own child pleaded guilty in a Jacksonville courtroom Monday morning as part of a plea deal.
Nearly 13 months after her arrest in South Carolina, Gloria Williams changed her plea from not guilty to guilty on charges of kidnapping and interference with child custody. Williams is accused of taking newborn Kamiyah Mobley from what was then University Medical Center in 1998.
With the plea deal, she now could serve up to 22 years in prison.
Standing before Judge Marianne Aho, Williams changed her plea from not guilty to guilty, electing to not let a jury decide whether or not she is innocent or guilty.
Prosecutor Alan Mizrahi never seemed to see the case going to trial.
"The proof was evident and the presumption was great," Mizrahi said. "There was a lot of evidence and the defendant felt it was in her best interest to plead guilty, as did the state of Florida."
Mizrahi says while the case spanned nearly 20 years, the evidence he needed was very cut and dry.
"The proof really at mounted to DNA evidence and some admissions," he said. "There wasn't really much more to it than that. It would be a lot for anyone to go through, and we have gone through it."
According to the deal, Williams can be sentenced to between zero and 22 years on the kidnapping charge and between zero and five years on her interference with custody charge.
Both of those can be served consecutively.
Jury selection for a potential trial was canceled last week.
Mizrahi says Mobley's biological parents have been aware of the talks to resolve the case.
"Well, they certainly know everything. It's our legal obligation to inform them along the entire process. And they want to resolution quickly," he said. "You'd have to ask them specifically, based on my conversations with them, I think they understood and were excepting of the resolution."
Another part of this plea deal says that no other charges against Gloria Williams can come for this crime here in Florida, in South Carolina, or at the federal level. Her sentencing hearing is set for May 3 and 4.
Williams is accused of taking a child from a Jacksonville hospital in 1998 and raising it as her own in the Walterboro area. The judge ruled in favor of the media earlier this month when more records were released in connection with the case.
Investigators say the abducted child, Kamiyah Mobley, had a feeling she may have been a victim of kidnapping but grew up believing Williams was her biological mother. Mobley was determined to be the abducted child through DNA testing with Williams allegedly using the name Alexis Manigo for the child.
Williams was arrested and later charged in the case in January 2017. Her story allegedly fell apart when fraudulent identity documents were found.
A tip sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children led investigators to Colleton County, where they found an 18-year-old woman with the same birthday as the missing girl but living under a different name.