Tulsa Judges, Juries Hand Out Heavy Sentences In Recent Child Abuse Cases
TULSA, Oklahoma - A string of child abusers are getting lengthy prison sentences. They're getting several life terms or life plus dozens of years.
It doesn't seem to matter whether the suspects go before a jury or a judge - they're getting the massive sentences. It seems people in Tulsa County are saying, when it comes to child abuse, enough is enough.
Twin baby boys, Benji and Cruz, were 35 days old when doctors discovered they had broken legs, arms and skull fractures. Their parents blamed each other for the abuse.
Both parents, Clorinda Archuleta and Joshua Wray, were convicted; she got three life sentences, and he got three life sentences plus 25 years.
Steven Clement was convicted of setting his girlfriend's house on fire with her four children inside, killing her 5-year-old son. He's now going to serve life in prison without parole.
Michael Eckfeldt was a foster parent who sexually abused two young girls. He’s now going to prison for two life sentences plus 35 years.
Tony Fore was just given eight life sentences plus 25 years for repeatedly sexually abusing three, 8-year-old girls.
Before that, Gregory Hawkins was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences for sexually abusing a young girl, getting her pregnant and trying to bribe her into not having the baby.
And Kyle Hancock, a previously convicted sex offender, got life in prison, without parole, plus two life terms, plus 10 years for breaking into a Tulsa home and raping a 5-year-old girl.
The girl's mom discovered him and fought with him until he jumped out of a kitchen window.
Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney, Sarah McAmis, said, "We've seen some really heinous crimes and also seen the community respond in a very appropriate way."
McAmis has been prosecuting child abuse cases for 22 years. She doesn't believe more people are hurting children, but believes more people are reporting abuse.
She said judges and juries are sending a message that treating children this way won't be tolerated, no matter what the excuse.
"Sometimes they blame their behavior on their own upbringing or addiction problems. Some offer an excuse, but, no matter what the circumstances are, there is no justification for hurting a child in any way," McAmis said.