9 Years in Prison for Washington Mother Who Poured Scalding Water on Disabled Son

Betty Threatt leaves after a hearing on her and Lester Jackson's child abuse case at D.C. Superior Court on March 27 in Washington.
Betty Threatt leaves after a hearing on her and Lester Jackson’s child abuse case at D.C. Superior Court on March 27 in Washington.

A Southeast Washington mother who pleaded guilty to pouring scalding water on her 9-year-old son who has cerebral palsy was sentenced Friday by a D.C. Superior Court judge to nine years in prison.

Betty T. Threatt, 27, who was convicted in March of aggravated assault against a minor and first-degree child cruelty after admitting in court that she bound her son with duct tape and refused to feed him, spoke softly in a brief statement to the judge.

“I want to say I apologize to the family for putting them through heartache and pain and stress,” said Threatt, referring to the family of the boy’s father, who was not present in court. Threatt, wearing a blue jumpsuit, added in a barely audible voice, “I love my family and children very much.”

Judge Rhonda Reid Winston accepted the recommended nine-year sentence negotiated in Threatt’s plea deal, explaining that nothing she read in a pre-sentencing report, detailing Threatt’s childhood and her mental illness, could excuse the mother’s actions.

“The behavior in the case is almost unheard of,” Reid Winston told Threatt, who stood at the defense table with her hands clasped in front of her.

The judge told Threatt, “I see defendants come into court every day who have undergone many horrible things, but it is in my view just unheard of to engage in this kind of conduct with respect to one’s own child.”

Threatt’s attorney, Brandi Harden, requested that, after sentencing, Threatt be placed in a facility where she could receive mental health treatment. According to social services documents, when Threatt was 9 years old, she was sent to an inpatient psychiatric facility after putting the family cat in a microwave and turning it on.

“Ms. Threatt is going to be released from prison at some point; it is obviously in the community’s best interest to have these issues addressed head-on while she is incarcerated,” Harden said.

The judge also sentenced Threatt to three years of supervised release after she gets out of prison.

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Source: The Washington Post | DeNeen L. Brown and Keith L. Alexander

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