Dollars Plead No Contest, Get 15 Years In Prison

Date: 2005-09-14
Source: news.tbo.com

Dollars Plead No Contest, Get 15 Years In Prison

By JIM TUNSTALL
jtunstall@tampatrib.com

INVERNESS - A couple accused of torturing five of their eight adopted children agreed Wednesday to a plea deal and immediately were sentenced to 15 years in prison to be followed by 15 years probation.

Investigators say John Dollar, 59, and his wife, Linda, 52, used a cattle prod, mallet, pliers, chains and other items to abuse their children over a period of years. Authorities say the Dollars also deprived the children, then ages 16 and younger, of food and sleep, bound them with chains and forced them to live in a closet.

As part of their no contest plea, they will not be prosecuted in other jurisdictions, including Hillsborough and Polk counties, where investigators say similar abuses occurred.

The plea came less than a week after prosecutors released testimony from a psychologist who likened the children's treatment to that of prisoners of war.

``You were out of control,'' the lead investigator, Citrus County sheriff's Detective Lisa Wall, said, addressing the couple during the hearing. ``I hope you can overcome your demons.''

Circuit Judge Ric Howard added: ``These children did nothing to deserve the harm you caused them.''

``You must suffer for what has been done to them.''

As a condition of their probation, the Dollars apologized to their children after sentencing.

Reporter Jim Tunstall can be reached at (352) 628-5558.

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