CHICAGO – Sandra and Jeffrey Weller, adoptive parents of Filipino twins, were given “exceptional” sentences of 20 and 21 years in prison, respectively, last March 20 for imprisoning, starving, beating and insulting the twins.
Jeffrey Weller was also convicted of beating his own and Sandra’s biological son. As a result, Superior Court Judge Barbara D. Johnson of the Clark County in Vancouver, Washington imposed on him an additional one year of imprisonment.[box type=”default” size=”large”] Stiff sentence is due to ‘deliberate cruelty to the kids’ [/box]Jeffrey Weller, 43, and Sandra Weller, 50, showed no reaction during the sentencing that was witnessed by a crowd that included the twins, a boy and a girl, who are now 17 years old.
Jeffrey, an employee of Wafer Tech, and Sandra, a homemaker, were found guilty last Feb. 8 by a jury of four counts each of assault in the second and third degrees, one count each of unlawful imprisonment, additional counts of two assaults each in the third and fourth degrees and one count of assault in the second degree.
Judge Johnson found “appropriate” the recommendation of Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dustin D. Richardson of the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s office to give the couple “exceptional sentences” of 240 months (20 years) in prison because of aggravating circumstances of “manifested deliberate cruelty to the victims” and as part “of an ongoing pattern of psychological or physical abuse” of the victims, “manifested by multiple incidents over a prolonged period of time.”
The court found “substantial and compelling” reasons for the “exceptional sentence” when all the children, both the adopted twins and biological children, “testified to living in what verged on a house of torture,” allegations that extended “over a lengthy period of time and impacted on multiple child victims.”
Sandra adopted the Filipino twins in 1997 when they were two years old in California. That was also the time when she gave birth to a pair of twins, also a boy and a girl, who both died stillborn. Sandra was married then to Tim Graf but they later broke up, making Sandy a single mom to take care of her child with Tim and the Filipino twins.
In 2005, Sandra met Jeffrey, who had two children from his prior relationship, and later they had a biological child.
The male Filipino twin, known only as “C.J.T,” and his sister, known only as “C.L.W.”, now 17 years old, said they were not treated like the couple’s biological kids.
He calls Sandra the “more dominant parent in the home,” while Jeffrey was Sandra’s “puppet.”
A typical day for the twins would start at 6 p.m. when they went to bed. They made sure that they would not be taking a lot of liquids because they could not get out of their bedroom to go to the bathroom. Their bedroom, which had no bathroom, no lights and no electricity, could be unlocked only from the outside.
A pounding on the door at 4:30 in the morning would rouse them from bed to start their chores as the rest of the children, except two, prepared to attend public school. While the other children would be eating, the twins would be doing their chores.
Afterwards, the twins, who were not sent to school, were told to get back to their room even without eating.
Sometimes the male twin slept on the floor in the bedroom of two other boys “for show in case CPS (Child Protective Services) personnel or somebody came to the residence.”
If the twins messed things up, Jeffrey would use a “stick (1” x 2” x 42”) that was long and slender” to beat them up. The beating count was from 20 to 30. When the stick started to fall apart, Jeffrey would replace it. There had been four sticks that the male twin could remember.
The twins were usually fed once a day. When they ate, they were standing, while the rest of the family members were seated.
When the twins got into their room, they were searched for food that they stole from the cabinets. When they got out of their room, they were also searched for empty cans or containers from food they had stolen.
When they were caught with food, the female twin took the blame. Punishment was usually a beating with the stick for both of them before Jeffrey would go to work. It would be followed by hours of lecture. They also had to answer a broken-record question: “Why did Michael and Brenna (the stillborn twins) have to die, but you lived when your Mom wanted you dead?”
Because they were worried that Jeffrey would make good their threat to beat them further, when they visited their therapist on Oct. 6, 2011, they left a note on a chair of the therapist’s office, asking for help.
A couple of days later, CPS personnel and Vancouver policemen came knocking on the door of the family house. They arrested the Weller couple and took the twins and the couple’s biological children under the care of the state.
The Wellers denied the accusations against them and planned to appeal.