A Washington couple who abused their kid, forcing him to live on hot dogs and smoothies, have been put behind bars by the court.
According to KOMO, prosecutors argued in court that Christopher Sefton and Lori Lloyd forced Sefton's six-year-old son to live on a blended cocktail of hot dogs and cooking oil while physically abusing him and forcing him to work out and restricting his sleep.The parents were convicted by a King County jury in March. Christopher Sefton and Lori Lloyd on Thursday received exceptionally long prison sentences of 20 years as a punishment to match the behavior they showed to their kid.
The child, only identified as K., has gone through a rough childhood and was reportedly emaciated and feeding himself out of school trash cans when officials finally came to his aid.
"They were using food to torture him," Senior Deputy Prosecutor Cecelia Gregson told Seattlepi.com. "It has the added benefit of trying to kill him, but it was a very effective form of torture."
The abuse the boy had to endure was beyond just being forced to eat junk food. He was also forced to do push-ups while wearing a backpack filled with canned food and was barred from sleeping.Gregson added that, despite dozens of calls to child protective services, they failed to help the boy.
The boy finally escaped the torture after he was helped following months of suspicion at the boy's school, which culminated in K. arriving badly bruised and shaking uncontrollably.
The parents, Sefton, 30, and Lloyd, 31, were charged with first-degree assault of a child, second-degree assault of a child, and first-degree criminal mistreatment.
The boy had been feeding himself out of school trash cans. At home, Sefton and Lloyd were feeding him hot dog-and-cooking oil smoothies, forcing him to do calisthenics and not letting him get proper sleep.
Lloyd and Sefton were convicted of assault and criminal mistreatment following a jury trial. While those counts related to K. alone, prosecutors noted that the other children in the home -- Lloyd's then seven-year-old daughter and the couple's young son -- had been mistreated as well, Local 12 News reported.
The prison term given them by King County Superior Court Judge James Cayce is beyond the usual range for crimes of similar magnitude.
By the end of the two-month jury trial, the judge believed the abuse was so extreme that he handed down 20-year sentences. Inside Edition reported.
"Judge Cayce held that to give the standard range would be to ignore the jury's imposition of multiple aggravating factors and would not result in a fair or just sentence," Gregson said following Thursday's hearing. He found that 20 years was warranted in this case because it was exceptional in every way."
The sentence addressed a deliberately cruel pattern of abuse perpetrated against a child who couldn't defend himself, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Cecelia Gregson said regarding Sefton and Lloyd's mistreatment of K.
In the trial, which stretched for about two months, Sefton and Lloyd claimed K. was hurting himself. Sefton desperately tried presenting a false impression of himself as a "proactive" and "engaged" parent, while Lloyd's attorney argued that it was the best she could do.
Though the boy was tall for his age, he only weighed a little more than 50 pounds. His entire body, including joints and stomach, were swollen, as his body was severely deprived of nutrition and was on the verge of breaking down.
Gregson was furious with the ordeal the boy was put through by their parents.
"People ask, 'How can someone abuse a child?'" Gregson told the jury in March. "I ask, 'How could all these good people sit by and do nothing?"
K. and the other children have been placed in other homes since Sefton, 30, and Lloyd, 31 were arrested. The older children have been receiving counseling, Local 12 News also reported.