Judge John Cherry of Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas said
Jarrod Tutko Sr., 39, and Kimberly Tutko, 40, were equally culpable
in the death of Jarrod Tutko Jr. and the near-death of his sister
Arianna, now 12.
He sentenced the father to 21 to 42 years in prison, and gave his
wife a sentence of 20 to 40 years. Both had pleaded guilty to
charges of third-degree murder and related offenses.
Cherry castigated both parents, who were sentenced separately, but
he reserved particular scorn for Kimberly Tutko.
“We don’t even keep animals like that,” he said. “It’s inconceivable
that you allowed this to happen," the judge said.
Before his sentencing, Jarrod Tutko Sr. pleaded for understanding,
saying mental health problems drove him to confine his son in a
filthy upstairs room in the family's Harrisburg home.
“Your honor, I am not a monster. I am not a dangerous individual,”
he said, weeping through much of the hearing. “I loved my child. I
tried my hardest.”
But his attorney, Bradley Winnick, conceded that the case
represented “a catastrophic failure of parenting.”
Prosecutor Sean McCormack had urged they receive the maximum
possible sentence, but Cherry knocked off a few years as credit for
their guilty pleas.
The couple lived with their six children, all
but one of whom was disabled, in a rented home less than three
blocks from the Pennsylvania governor’s official residence. Jarrod
Jr suffered from Fragile-X Syndrome, a genetic condition that causes
intellectual and behavioral disabilities, according to the National
Fragile X Foundation.
[to top of second column]
His parents kept the boy locked in a third-floor room with no bed or
lights. A social worker, Carrie Shanahan, testified that the feces
had been smeared by little fingers.
Police were summoned to the home on Aug. 1, 2014. They found Jarrod
Tutko Jr., shrunken and dead, rolled in a blanket. His sister was
clinging to life in her own bedroom but has since recovered,
according to court testimony.
Kimberly Tutko portrayed herself as a battered wife who wished only
that her son could come back to life so that she could apologize for
not being a better mother.
Her attorney, Michael Palermo, said she was a classic battered
woman, the victim of a man who knew how to hurt her without leaving
(Editing by Frank McGurty and James Dalgleish)
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