Prineville parents sentenced for child neglect
Two Prineville parents have been sentenced for child neglect following an incident in late October in their home.
Terry Nicholson was sentenced Thursday morning in Crook County Court to 37 days in jail and 36 months of probation for two counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment of each his two young children. His wife, Felicia Nicholson, received the same sentence in November and both of them were additionally ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and recommended treatment as well as alcohol evaluation and recommended treatment and parenting classes. According to Crook County District Attorney Wade Whiting, their two children, who were 2 and 3 years old at the time of the incident, were removed from the parents by Oregon Department of Human Services and are currently in out-of-home placement.
The incident leading to the arrests of the Nicholsons and their eventual sentencing took place on Oct. 20 at their apartment home in Northwest Prineville. According to an incident report filed by Prineville Police Officer Dallas Wilson, he and two other officials were dispatched to the residence during the evening following a report of a fight. They were told there was blood and someone who might need medical attention.
Authorities first found Felicia who had blood on her forehead and a right hand that had a bleeding cut on the knuckles. She initially claimed that she did not know what she had punched and had probably blacked out. She later said she may have punched a wall, but insisted the injuries were not caused by a fight with her husband.
Felicia admitted to drinking earlier, claiming she had consumed one 24-ounce alcoholic beverage.
While officers tried to find Terry, they saw a baby gate at the top of the stairs. Attached to it was a bungee cord that was strung to a bedroom doorknob, holding the door shut. After calling out to Terry several times, he came out with blood coming from his mouth and in his goatee.
He also denied having fought with his spouse, telling police that he had tripped and hit a wall, causing a fat lip. He said he had consumed "a couple" alcoholic beverages.
Police continued to question the couple's injuries, and both of them at different times finally admitted to getting into a physical altercation. The incident report added that both parents showed clear signs of intoxication.
Authorities would later learn that Terry had a .28% blood alcohol content and Felicia had a blood alcohol content of .22%
In addition to the drinking and the fight, police noticed that the home was very cluttered and dirty. They saw dirty dishes and old food throughout the living room as well as an abundance of empty alcoholic beverage containers.
One of the police officials went into the kids' bedroom and said they were both naked and feces was smeared on the walls. The rest of the upstairs was very cluttered, police reported, with dirty diapers throughout the area.
Both parents were arrested at the scene and the children were clothed in clean garments and taken to St. Charles Prineville.
At the sentencing hearing on Thursday, Whiting said that Terry made a tearful statement.
"I lost my kids," he said. "I lost my family's trust. I lost a lot."
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