Oklahoma Appeals Court Reduces Sentence For Convicted Tulsa Child Killer

Wednesday, August 25th 2010, 3:54 pm
By: News On 6


OKLAHOMA CITY -- The State Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the sentence given to a former daycare operator in the 2007 death of a Sperry boy.

In April of 2008, a jury recommended Chiles receive life without parole in the suffocation death of 2-year-old Joshua Minton. Chiles, who operated a day care center in her midtown Tulsa home, admitted to taping Joshua's hands and mouth with masking tape, because he wouldn't be quiet during nap time.

5/5/2008 Related Story: Vicki Chiles Gets Life In Prison

On Wednesday, the appellate court ordered Vicki Chiles' sentence be changed to life with parole, with all but 30 years suspended, meaning she'll be eligible for parole after serving 25 years of her reduced sentence.

Joshua's Great Aunt says the reduction of Chiles' sentence is pouring salt into wounds that never really healed.

"Totally frustrating. It was a shock. We expected the appeal to do something. We didn't expect this," Atonda Minton said.

The court decided that jurors in the case 'were confused about their sentencing options.' As a result, the court says the sentence of life without parole was made by a jury that was not 'properly informed.'

"But she was given life without parole. And for that to be reduced to a lousy 30 years is a slap in the face to every child who's been abused or murdered," Minton said.

Chiles will be in her 70's when she leaves prison. But Atonda Minton and her family promise to be there if it happens.

"If she gets out, we'll be watching. We'll be watching," she said. "She should never be allowed around children."

Chiles told police she had used masking tape on the toddler as a last resort.