A Connecticut man was sentenced to six and a half years in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to keeping his mentally ill sister captive. He allegedly locked her inside of a filthy room which the two shared.
Arthur Gauvin, 60, pleaded guilty in April to first-degree abuse and cruelty of persons after police discovered that he had been keeping his then--56-year-old sister inside of a locked bedroom, the Star Tribune reports. The sister reportedly suffered from diabetes and dementia and had been held captive by Gauvin for years.
At the time of the discovery in April 2014, the sister was covered in urine and feces in a room so disgusting that the police reportedly could not breathe. The “dungeon," as police described it, was also dark with one window covered with black spray paint.
“She was vulnerable, defenseless and denied her dignity,” said prosecuting attorney Cornelius P. Kelly. “The value of her life in the eyes of Mr. Gauvin was zero.”
The sister's assets were reportedly under Gauvin's control during the time he kept her captive. This included the house they lived in, the Hartford Courant reports.
Prosecutors were originally arguing for a 15-year sentence. Gauvin’s lawyer, however, argued for leniency. The judge sentenced him to six-and-a-half years in prison.
"I tried my best to take care of her," said Gauvin to Judge Frank A. Iannotti during his sentencing. "I ran into dead ends."
"When you opened the door and looked at her Mr. Gauvin, what sir, were you saying to yourself?" the judge asked Gauvin, according to the Hartford Courant. "She was left to lie in bed with her own excrement for a significant period of time. The pictures of her room tell the only story anyone needs to know."
Gauvin’s sister has since been sent to the hospital and released. She is currently living in a treatment center.
After serving his prison term, Gauvin must also serve five years of probation and is barred from contacting his sister.