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Parents of fenced-in 4-year-old are sentenced

LANCASTER, Ohio – A central Ohio couple who confined a 4-year-old girl at night in a bed wrapped with steel fencing pleaded guilty to child endangering and were sentenced to 6 months in jail, minus time already served, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

The Pleasantville couple had told a judge that they were trying to protect the girl because she wandered at night and they wanted to ensure her safety.

The prosecution contended it was improper parenting and punishment and argued the parents should spend at least some time in prison.

A judge on Monday sentenced Russell Terry, 36, and Jamie Curnell, 33, to 180 days in jail after each pleaded guilty to three counts of child endangering. Kidnapping and abduction charges against them were dismissed under the plea deal.

The judge suspended their 6 1/2-year prison sentences, which they won’t have to serve if they complete five years of probation without problems.

A defense attorney told the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette that Curnell is satisfied with the decision and looks forward to reuniting the family.

Fairfield County deputies found they cage-like contraption in summer 2012 while responding to a domestic violence call from the family’s home in Pleasantville, about 40 miles southeast of Columbus. The sheriff said the steel wire surrounded the lower bunk bed where the girl slept, and a door had been fashioned into the fence.

Prosecutor Gregg Marx said a relative now cares for the girl, and the couple’s other children are no longer in the home. The parents have supervised visits with the children each week.

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