by: Matt Johnson Updated: Jan 27, 2017
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. – A jury convicted two Gwinnett County parents Friday of child cruelty for locking their son in a basement for nearly two years.
The prosecution wanted a guilty verdict for first and second degree cruelty alleging the parents acted with malice.
The jury decided the parents are guilty of cruelty, but they were more negligent than malicious.
Channel 2’s Matt Johnson was in the courtroom as Recardo and Therian Wimbush sat in silence as a judge read the verdicts in the child-cruelty case against them.
The parents locked up their then-12-year-old son in a basement for 18 months as punishment and also neglected to care for another son’s malignant cancer.
The Department of Family and Children Services acted on an anonymous tip in 2014 and the parents were arrested in Gwinnett County.
The jury found both parents not guilty of the four more serious first-degree charges but guilty on three counts of second-degree cruelty.
“The pain that those children went through was more than any child went through,” jury foreman Bill Rice told Johnson after the verdict. “Most of us really got very little sleep. This affected every single one of the jurors.”
Rice said he was pushing for a guilty verdict for the first-degree charges before settling with other jurors.
“The fact that she put a pee jar for him to go to the bathroom told me that he was not going to be in there for another day, or another week,” Rice said.
It will be up to a juvenile court to decide whether any of the 10 Wimbush children can see their parents ever again.
“They’re getting on with their lives and I think with this trial behind us, it will help them do that,” Mayfield said.
Prosecutors are said they are encouraged by the progress the 10 children have made since 2014 when their parents were arrested.
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