Woman to serve 2 years in prison for locking daughters in cages, putting plastic bags over their heads

gkocher1@herald-leader.comOctober 1, 2013 

A Lexington woman indicted on charges that she locked her children in dog cages was sentenced Monday to two years in prison.

Cheryl Ann Christopher, 53, had entered an Alford plea in March. An Alford plea means a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that there is enough evidence for a criminal conviction.

Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine sentenced Christopher to one year each on two counts of first-degree criminal abuse. Each year is to be served consecutively, for a total of two years. The judge dismissed two counts of unlawful imprisonment.

Other charges accused Christopher of forcing her two daughters to jump off a roof and trying to suffocate the girls with plastic shopping bags placed over their heads.

Charges against Christopher's husband, Elisha David Christopher, 71, were dismissed in March, according to court records. Elisha Christopher died in April 2013.

Police have said the girls told their counselor that their mother put them in dog cages with Doberman pinschers and attempted to drown them after taping shut their eyes and mouths with duct tape. The girls also said their mother locked them in their bedrooms for extended periods.

In a letter addressed to Judge Goodwine, Cheryl Christopher said that she loved her children and grandchildren and would never hurt them. She tried to rehabilitate them, her letter said.

"They came with a lot of problems," she wrote to the judge. "I thought I could change their world for them through love, kindness and understanding."

Christopher pleaded with Goodwine for leniency in her sentencing. She ended the letter saying: "I am not a monster, just a broken hearted mom and grandma. My life and future is in your hands."

Herald-Leader reporter Justin Madden contributed to this story. Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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