A Collinsville couple convicted of abusing twin baby girls are facing the possibility of 130 years in prison.
Aislyn Miller, 24, and Kevin Fowler, 25, were convicted Friday of five counts of child neglect in a case Owasso police and medical staff called "the worst case of child abuse" they have ever seen.
Miller and Fowler were charged after their 9-month-old twin daughters were taken to the hospital. The girls were severely malnourished and emaciated, each weighing only about 8 pounds--the weight of a newborn. The girls had severe diaper rash, and one had a hair wrapped around her finger, which led to an infection. The other girl had feces in her ear, and when doctors examined her, a maggot crawled out of her genitals.
Police testified that the family's home was filthy, with cat feces smeared on the wall and maggots in the babies' playpen. Two other children, aged one and three, also lived in the home. All four children were taken into protective custody after the neglect was discovered.
Jurors seemed to agree that the neglect in this case was shocking and heinous. They recommended a sentence of 30 years in prison for each of the first four counts of child neglect and 10 years in prison for the fifth count. All total, jurors are recommending 130 years in prison for each of the girls' parents.
The couple is set for formal sentencing before Tulsa County District Judge William Musseman on November 13.
Oklahoma law in 21 O.S. § 843.5 penalizes child neglect with a maximum punishment of life in prison.
The Oklahoma Children's Code defines not only child neglect, but also "heinous and shocking neglect," which applies in aggravated and particularly egregious situations:
"Heinous and shocking neglect" includes, but is not limited to:
a. chronic neglect that includes, but is not limited to, a persistent pattern of family functioning in which the caregiver has not met or sustained the basic needs of a child which results in harm to the child,
b. neglect that has resulted in a diagnosis of the child as a failure to thrive,
c. an act or failure to act by a parent that results in the death or near death of a child or sibling, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or presents an imminent risk of serious harm to a child, or
d. any other similar aggravating circumstance (10A O.S. § 1-1-105)
The Tulsa Count District Attorney's Office also charged the babies' paternal grandmother in the case. Rita Fowler, 66, is charged with permitting child neglect and failure to report child neglect. The penalties for enabling child neglect are the same as for the actual charge of child neglect. Failure to report child neglect is a misdemeanor under Oklahoma law.