Tyree and Takeya Fluellen, a couple from Steelton, Pennsylvania, were sentenced to at least one year in prison after pleading guilty to child endangerment in June (video below).
They were initially charged in July 2015 after authorities discovered their 11 children living in a home covered in trash, maggots, feces and raw meat. One bathtub was being used as a toilet, and there were no beds or other pieces of furniture in the house. The children range in age from 2 to 14.
Tyree, 29, and Takeya, 34, had already fled the scene when authorities made the discovery, but were caught in January 2016. Six of the children, all of whom were placed in protective custody, had shigella, a disease caused by ingesting feces; all the children required medical attention, reported WMPT.
One of the sons, due to enter fifth grade, wrote a letter to the judge requesting not to be sent back to live with his parents when they get out of prison, reported PennLive. Tyree is his stepfather, the Daily Mail notes.
In defense of his client, the mother’s lawyer said she understood that her home had gotten out of control, and had been planning to move into a clean home soon, but did not ask for financial help for fear of losing her children.
She told the judge: “I want you to know I love my children. I want you to know I was not trying to harm them. It was the selfishness of not wanting to lose them.”
The attorney for Tyree said his client’s excuse was that he had a difficult childhood with an alcoholic mother.
The judge noted the couple had previously faced charges for neglecting their children, and then he sentenced them to between one and two years in prison.