Abusive Vancouver parents sent to prison

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by KGW.com Staff

KREM.com

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 1:03 PM

VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver father and mother found guilty of beating and starving their adopted twins were sentenced to two decades in prison Wednesday.

Jeffrey and Sandra Weller were convicted in February of imprisoning and abusing the children. On Wednesday, Jeffery was sentenced to 21 years, Sandra, to 20 years. Judge Barbara D. Johnson ruled that "an exceptional sentence" was appropriate for the crimes the Wellers committed.

In February, Jeffrey was found guilty on 14 out of 15 counts of assault and unlawful imprisonment. Sandra was found guilty on nine out of 10 counts.

A judge told the couple the abuse suffered by the twins was "torture," adding later that their acts were "incomprehensible."

Jeffrey Weller's attorney requested a 74-month sentence. Sandra Weller's lawyer asked the judge for a sentence of four years and two months.

The victims were in the courtroom for sentencing Wednesday when the Wellers spoke, still claiming they were innocent. Their attorneys have already announced plans to appeal.

The twins were 16 years old when the Wellers were arrested in 2011.  All six of the Wellers' children were taken from their home during the investigation and placed in child protective custody.

Sandra acknowledged during the trial that the kitchen cabinets with food were locked and said that was to prevent the twins from pilfering junk food. The twins' bedroom doors were also locked. Sandra said it was to keep them from climbing onto the roof of the home.

Tim Graf had strong words against his ex-wife, Sandra, when he read a statement in court.

"Sandra Weller is by far, the most brazen, dangerously evil and manipulative person that I have personally known. She is a criminal mastermind,” he said. "We're glad we don't have to worry about them creating havoc in our lives for a long time."

Another dramatic moment came when Sandra herself was speaking in court and several of the victims' family members stood up and walked out. The Wellers blamed their ex-spouses on the way out of court, saying they were framed.

Juror Deanna Imri returned to the courtroom to hear the sentencing, and said it was appropriate.

"I'm glad they got that. I wish they would have gotten more," she said. "Because those children are going to be damaged for the rest of their lives."

Related: Twin testifies in Wash. trial for abused siblings

KGW Reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report

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