Chad Chritton, 41, from Madison, Wis., was convicted of felony child neglect late yesterday after being accused of starving and torturing his teenage daughter. But according to FOX News, the horrific circumstances involved in the case had jurors deadlocked on additional felony charges against the father. That deadlock has allowed Chritton to go free on bail for now.
Prosecutors in the case claimed that Chritton starved his daughter, subjected her to years of physical and sexual abuse, and forced her to sleep on a bare floor in an alarmed basement during the years of her abuse. They claim that the child weighed only 68 pounds when she was finally able to escape from the home.
The girl, who testified against her father during the trial, had told investigators she spent most of five years confined in the basement of her family's Madison home, where she said she was beaten, sexually assaulted and denied food despite begging to be allowed to eat.
The barefoot and lightly dressed daughter escaped from her family home on Feb. 6, 2012 when she was found wandering in the street by a Good Samaritan who called the police on her behalf.
The girl, now 16, told police that her abuse at home began as soon as she turned 10-years-old.
She said her stepmother beat her and her stepbrother repeatedly forced her to perform oral sex on him.
She also told the authorities that “she sometimes was forced to eat her feces and drink her own urine.”
According to U.S. News, the father denied ever harming his daughter.
He went on to say that his daughter only weighed 68 pounds because “she didn't like to eat.” The defense attorneys argued that the girl suffered from mental problems.
The jury found the father guilty of felony child neglect, but was hopelessly deadlocked on other felony charges which included intentional child abuse and false imprisonment. The felony child neglect conviction on its own is good for a six year prison sentence.
The judge in the case set the father free on bond and is deferring sentencing until the separate trials of his wife and stepson have concluded later this summer.
The girl's stepmother will be going to trial next month on child abuse charges. The girl’s stepbrother has been charged with child abuse and sexual assault of a child, and will be going to trial in June.
Prosecutors have the option of retrying the father if they so choose. If ever convicted of all the charges that deadlocked this jury, Chad Chritton could spend 37 years behind bars.
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