An Ohio mother who locked her 7-year-old daughter in a cage as she wasted away to 28 pounds was sentenced to three years in prison in what the judge referred to as a “sickening” case.
Lillian Cottrell, 29, pleaded guilty to child endangerment and was handed the sentence Monday after prosecutors said she and her boyfriend, Derek Mayle, 39, locked the young girl up as punishment and tortured her over the course of seven months, The Associated Press reports. When child welfare officials removed the young girl from the home, she weighed just 28 pounds.
As the sentence was being issued Monday, Cottrell allegedly smiled and rolled her eyes—earning the ire of Judge Frank Forchione who called the child abuse “disgusting,” The Repository reports.
"You have dishonored the word 'mother,'" he told Cottrell, who appeared via video monitor.
He went on to call a 7-year-old child a “crown jewel of life.”
“They’re not to be treated like some kind of animal—this is sickening,” he said.
Forchione handed down the maximum sentence under the law, but said he would have liked to sentence her to 10 years behind bars if it would have been legally permitted.
“You think putting a 7-year-old in a cage is a good discipline?” he asked, according to the news outlet. “You’re going to find out very shortly it’s not much fun because I’m going to give you the same. I’m going to lock you up in a cage and we’ll see how you like it.”
The couple allegedly tortured and “cruelly” abused the child from Jan. 1, 2019 to July 30, 2019, often locking her in a crate in the couple’s basement, according to court documents obtained by The Repository.
The child also had older brothers who lived in the home; however, there was no evidence that they had suffered the same abuse.
Stark County Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Petricini told Oxygen.com that the young girl is now in the care of a family friend, who plans to adopt her.
“She’s doing much better,” he said. “No weight concerns, she’s been in school.”
Petricini said Mayle is facing the same charge in the case and is expected to go to trial at the end of March.
He said he wasn’t able to say too much about the case in light of the upcoming trial against Mayle, but was pleased Cottrell “accepted responsibility” and received the maximum sentence possible.
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