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Judge refuses sentence reconsideration

Last Modified: Saturday, April 05, 2014 8:27 PM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

A state district court judge on Friday refused to reconsider a 40-year sentence he gave to a Sulphur man who pleaded guilty to 40 counts of aggravated incest.

Sheldon Edward Parker, 44, pleaded guilty before Judge David Ritchie in February 2013. Parker sexually abused a girl between Jan. 1, 2008, and Aug. 31, 2011, beginning when the girl was 13.

When he was sentenced in August, he asked Ritchie for leniency so he would not die in prison. Ritchie sentenced him to 40 years.

Parker asked Ritchie to reconsider the sentence because there had originally been an offer of 25 years in prison if Parker would plead guilty, keeping the victim from going through a trial.

Prosecutor David Palay acknowledged there had been an offer on the table, but said he informed Parker and his attorney it would be withdrawn the moment he called the victim to begin preparing for a February 2013 trial.

Defense attorney Cliff Newman said Parker claims his former attorney, Ted Hartman, told him to reject the 25-year offer in the hopes of receiving a lighter sentence. Hartman said he could not comment on the case because to do so would violate attorney-client confidentiality.

The morning Parker was to go to trial, he pleaded guilty. Ritchie said he found no credibility in Parker’s claim that he pleaded guilty so the victim could avoid a trial. She was already in anguish because it was the day of trial, Ritchie said.

He said he sentenced Parker based on the facts of the case. “Johnnie Cochran or anybody else couldn’t have helped him with that,” Ritchie said. He said Parker had treated the girl as a “non-human being” for his own gratification.

“He’s lucky I couldn’t give him more,” the judge said.

Posted By: Gerald Cuvillier On: 4/6/2014

Title: mr.

Judge Ritchie
Could you come to Montana and give a class to our judges here on how to sentence someone for a crime? They definitely could use some instruction. We recently had a judge give a teacher thirty days for raping a fourteen year old student who committed suicide after the incident.

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