Madison father sentenced to five years in child abuse case - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Madison father sentenced to five years in child abuse case

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Madison man at the center of a high profile child abuse trial will serve five years in prison.

Chad Chritton was sentenced Wednesday, with an additional five years of extended supervision. He and his wife are accused of keeping Chritton's teenage daughter in the basement with little access to food and no proper schooling. She was found after escaping the home in February 2012.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne read aloud a letter Chritton's now 16-year-old daughter wrote to the judge, describing the abuse and her recovery since leaving the home.

"With those six years of no education, those are also the years that I started losing my life, the life I wanted to own and didn't until I ran away," the girl writes. "They turned me into their own personal slave."

No one took the stand to speak on behalf of the victim or Chritton, but Chritton read his own written statement to the courtroom. He apologized to his daughter but still maintained social services failed him and his family.

"Your honor, I pray that I can have a second chance for myself and my children," Chritton told the judge. "As I sit here today, I still love [my daughter]. I do not blame her for any of this. I blame myself for not being there for her and for the rest of my family."

Judge Julie Genovese, who presided over both the original trial in late February into March and the re-trial in November, told Chritton many people failed his daughter, including her father.

"Your daughter was the victim of profound neglect here. I think that you were overwhelmed with your two other boys," Genovese told Chritton. "I think you put your head in the sand. I really do think that you just didn't see it."

Judge Genovese sentenced Chritton to five years in prison and five years on probation for the four felony counts, including second degree recklessly endangering safety, child abuse, causing mental harm to a child and neglect.

The prosecution had asked for nine years on two counts and three on the other two. The defense requested probation.

"We get to make a recommendation, the court gets to make the actual sentence," Ozanne told 27 News after the sentencing hearing.

"I am not surprised by the sentence," says defense attorney Jessa Nicholson. "I question what value the community has in warehousing someone that has no immediate danger to the public and no apparent treatment needs."

It's rare for trials to run as long as this one did and that comes at a price.

Dane County's Clerk of Courts reports the first trial which ran for three weeks cost $8,061.48 in juror expenses alone. The clerk's office worked 30.2 hours of overtime, which cost $1,051.87. Court reporter expenses were $1,669.50. Chritton's court-appointed attorney fees cost $16,534.89.

The second trial that lasted two weeks cost $6,542.98 in juror expenses and $780.71 for 19.8 hours of court clerk overtime. Court-appointed attorney and court reporter expenses have not yet been submitted for reimbursement.

The office tells 27 News the expense for Chritton's trial is much higher than the average trial because it lasted so long. Most jury trials are only one or two days.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Chad Chritton received a sentence of five years in prison, plus five years extended supervision for neglecting and abusing his teenage daughter.

Judge Julie Genovese, in announcing the sentence, said she wanted to choose a similar sentence to the one given to Chritton's wife, Melinda Drabek-Chritton

Before sentencing, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne read a letter from Chritton's daughter, describing her abuse and recovery.

A tearful Chritton told the judge he has been fighting to reunite his family and clear his name.

In a re-trial in November 2013, Chad Chritton was found guilty of second degree recklessly endangering safety, child abuse and causing mental harm to a child. He was acquitted of false imprisonment.

In the original trial in March 2013, Chritton was found not guilty of misdemeanor neglect and guilty of felony child neglect.

Tonight on 27 News at 5 & 6, Jennifer Kliese will have reaction to Chritton's sentence in a live report from the Dane County Courthouse.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Madison man found guilty of neglecting and abusing his teenage daughter will learn his sentence Wednesday.

In a re-trial in November, Chad Chritton was found guilty of second degree recklessly endangering safety, child abuse and causing mental harm to a child. He was acquitted of false imprisonment.

In the original trial in March 2013, Chritton was found not guilty of misdemeanor neglect and guilty of felony child neglect.

The Dane County District Attorney's Office maintained throughout both trials that Chritton kept his then 15-year-old daughter in the basement with limited food and access to a bathroom. Doctors testified the girl was found malnourished after running away from home in February 2012.

Attorneys say the three felonies pose a maximum prison sentence of 34 years and an additional 18 years of close supervision after release.

Tonight on 27 News at 5 & 6, Jennifer Kliese will share a recap of Chritton's sentencing hearing.

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