An Alabama couple will serve just two years in prison for inflicting horrific abuse on their adoptive son — including locking him in a basement for 23 hours a day and nearly starving him to death.
Richard Kelly, 60, and his wife Cynthia, 51, were sentenced Thursday in Shelby County to the maximum allowed under a previous plea deal, AL.com reported.
The light sentence followed an emotional statement by their son, Ethan Kelly — now an 18-year-old high school senior — who recounted his years of torture after his adoption in 2007.
“This wasn’t the dream. I cried every night and prayed for Jesus to end it all” Kelly told the court.
“I’m not who I used to be. I’m not even who I was supposed to be. I lived the story of Cinderella with no happy ending.”
The couple was accused of keeping Ethan locked in prison-like conditions in the basement for around two years.
For nearly 23 hours a day, he was forced to stay in a locked room with a camera, alarm system and box spring for a bed.
The abuse came to light on Nov. 12, 2016, when Richard took the gravely ill boy to the hospital weighing. Though age 14, he weighed less than 55 pounds.
Doctors told police at the time that the boy was near death — suffering from malnourishment, dehydration, acute respiratory distress, shock and hypothermia.
“His body was failing in all of the critical ways that keep us alive. He was essentially dying,” Children’s Hospital of Alabama Dr. Melissa Peters told the court, according to AL.com
Both parents testified that they had not abused Ethan — and that they did not believe they did anything wrong.
Richard told the court that they “did what we thought was best,” while Cynthia claimed that “we did not intend to hurt our son.”
“Maybe we missed some signs. If I could do it over again, I would get him help,” Cynthia said, AL.com reported.
In handing down the sentence, Shelby County Circuit Judge William H. Bostick told the could that he would’ve given them a harsher punishment if he had the power.
“It would be somewhere in the realm of 20 years to life if I weren’t constrained by the law. But I am,” Bostick said.
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