A Washington County judge scolded a New Eagle mother Friday when she sentenced the woman for starving and imprisoning her young twins, saying the children were treated as if they were dogs.
Judge Katherine B. Emery said the case against Roxanne Taylor was among the worst she had ever evaluated before she sentenced the woman to 14 to 50 years in prison on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, unlawful restraint and endangering the welfare of children.
“You didn’t do the hard part,” Emery said. “When they were acting up at night, you just locked them in a room. You treated them like you treat a dog, just put them in a cage.”
Taylor, 26, and her husband, Edward Buckholz, 34, were arrested by Monongahela police after a neighbor rescued their feces-covered, malnourished 6-year-old son, who crawled out of his bedroom window on a cold February 2012 morning. Upon further investigation, police discovered the boy and his fraternal twin sister were imprisoned in a bedroom behind a door chained from the outside in a house at 353 Seventh Ave. that was in deplorable condition. An overflowing potty chair was located in the children’s bedroom in a house filled with animals and littered with feces.
“The environment was awful,” Emery said from the bench. “The children have been prevented from reaching their full potential.”
The children have been assigned to separate foster homes and will be adults when their mother is released from prison if her sentenced is not modified.
Buckholz is expected to be sentenced next week to 2 to 4 years in prison under a plea agreement he reached with prosecutors. Taylor’s attorney, Andrew Glasgow, succeeded in stalling her transfer to prison for a month while another attorney is assigned to prepare her appeal of the sentence.
Glasgow declined comment following the sentencing.
Assistant Washington County District Attorney Traci McDonald said she was satisfied with the sentence Emery imposed.
“This was a harsh case,” McDonald said.
She said Taylor had attended parenting classes through Children and Youth Services many times in the past and had other opportunities to become a better parent.
The crimes Taylor was convicted of during her jury trial in July generally don’t carry long prison sentences, but state law permits the court to enhance such penalties in certain crimes against children, McDonald said.
“This situation was much too egregious to seek the standard sentencing range,” she said.