Schmitzes enter plea agreements days before second trial
TRENTON, Tenn. (AP) - A West Tennessee couple accused of abusing several of the 18 children living in their home have entered plea agreements in Trenton. Debra Schmitz received a six-month jail sentence and her husband, Tom Schmitz got a year of supervised probation.
The Schmidtzes' lawyers say the couple will now try to get back some of the children the state took custody of in June 2004.
The couple had gone to trial in February in Haywood County Circuit Court, but a mistrial was declared because one juror didn't agree with guilty verdicts other jury members had voted to impose.
A second trial was scheduled to begin next Tuesday.
The Schmitzes were accused of beating some of the children and confining them in a dark basement or a metal crib.
Investigators also said the couple made the children dig holes, telling them those were their graves.