Madison stepmother faces sentencing Friday - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison stepmother sentenced to 5 years in prison


MADISON (WKOW) -- The stepmother in a high profile child abuse case has been sentenced to five years in prison. Melinda Drabek-Chritton learned her fate Friday afternoon after pleading no contest to two felony charges.

Drabek-Chritton, who prosecutors say starved, attacked, and locked up her stepdaughter made her final plea to the court. "I am very, very sorry for what happened," she said. "We didn't have the skills to keep her thought maybe she should be put in a different place, where she could get the help she needed."

She says she and her husband, Chad Chritton, couldn't handle how the victim, known as SLC, behaved and eventually gave up.

SLC was not in court Friday but her foster mother spoke to the court and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne read a statement from SLC aloud. "They took away the porta potty from me so I wouldn't have anywhere to use the bathroom," the statement read. SLC also asked that her stepmother get the maximum for 1st degree recklessly endangering safety and causing mental harm to a child.

Ozanne said he was shocked in reading Drabek-Chritton's pre-sentencing report because of what he described as a lack in responsibility and remorse. Ozanne asked that she be sentenced to eight years in prison and eight years of extended supervision.

Drabek-Chritton's attorney argued that while she neglected the child, there was no evil intent and that the two adults simply couldn't handle the situation.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Julie Genovese weighed several factors in her sentencing decision. "As the stepmother I think it's a convenient for people to want to make Melinda Drabek the scapegoat of what happened. But again, I don't think it's that simple," Genovese said. In agreement with the prosecution and defense, she said the system also failed SLC, but probation wasn't enough. Genovese sentenced Drabek-Chritton to five years in prison and three years of extended supervision.

Ozanne tells 27 News he expects Chad Chritton will be tried again in November. The jury was hung on several counts in his first trial.


MADISON (WKOW) ---Melinda Drabek-Chritton has been sentenced to 5 years in prison and 3 years of extended supervision for the abuse and starvation of her stepdaughter.

The judge found prison time necessary and said this case should be characterized as sustained and profound neglect.

Reporter Danielle Lama will have more on this story from court on 27 News at 5 & 6.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Madison woman accused of starving and abusing her stepdaughter will be sentenced Friday.

Melinda Drabek-Chritton pleaded no contest earlier this year to first degree recklessly endangering safety and causing mental harm to a child. She could get up to 25 years in prison.

A jury found the teen girl's father guilty of child neglect. The teenager escaped from her home in the winter. When a passerby found her she weighed less than 70 pounds.

Reporter Danielle Lama will have the latest from court tonight on 27 News at 5 & 6.

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