Fairview couple gets suspended sentence
February 1, 2010
By Joe Malan, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
FAIRVIEW — More than half of the 12 benches in Major County District Court were filled by people young and old Monday.
They sat silently, waiting to hear the sentences Major County District Judge Dean Linder would hand down to four members of the Tyler family of Fairview, who had been accused of abusing a girl the family adopted in 2005.
Penny Sue Tyler, 46, was given a 10-year suspended sentence with 60 days in Major County Jail for one felony count of child abuse.
Ardee Verlon Tyler, 52, also was given a 10-year suspended sentence for one felony count of child abuse but will not serve any jail time.
Both had pleaded no contest to the charges Dec. 9, 2009.
After the sentencings were read and Linder announced a short recess, some in the courtroom began crying.
Others shook their head in reaction to the sentencings.
Tim Haworth, assistant district attorney for Major County, had requested Ardee and Penny spend 20 years in jail each and pay a $500 fine.
Before announcing the sentencings, Linder said he based his decisions largely on a pre-sentencing investigation, which recommended Ardee serve a suspended sentence but Penny be sentenced to a period of incarceration followed by probation.
Haworth had mixed feelings after hearing Linder’s decision.
“I’m happy there was a conviction on both parties,” said Haworth, “However, I wish both parties would have been given more (jail) time.”
Court documents in the case had alleged between 2005 and 2007, a 12-year-old girl, one of five adopted by the family in 2005, was abused, raped and assaulted by members of the family.
According to an affidavit prepared by Major County District Attorney’s Office Investigator Steve Tanio, the girl told her new guardian, Barbara Louise Thomas-Johnson, she had been abused while in care of the family.
According to the affidavit, the girl said she had been tied with rope and restrained to a bed in the basement of the residence. She also had been tied with rope to a chair during the same time period and had been forced to sleep outside the house when the temperature was cold, according to the affidavit.
On Monday, Tanio read aloud a letter given to him by Ardee Tyler about the alleged abuses. In it, Ardee confessed to restraining her to the bed and chair and forcing her to sleep outside.
Haworth and the Tyler family attorney, Ron Willis, cross-examined Tanio and several other witness over the course of the hearing.
One of the witnesses called to testify Monday was the oldest of the children whom the family had adopted from Liberia.
During his examination, Willis asked the 16-year-old girl several questions about her living conditions in Liberia, versus the ones she had now.
In answer to Willis’ questions, she said she had been accustomed to stealing in Liberia, as that action had been considered the norm by many.
When Willis asked if she had difficulty adjusting to the American way of life of not stealing, the girl admitted it had taken her a while to get used to it, but she felt as if she was better at not stealing now.
She also expressed her desire to stay in the Tyler home and said she loved her parents.
Willis used that testimony in his closing arguments.
Haworth, meanwhile, emphasized Ardee had admitted his guilt in the written letter, so there was no question whether or not a crime was committed.
Also on Monday, Nathania Dellare Tyler, 21, was given a 90-day suspended sentence on a misdemeanor count of assault and battery. She also must pay a fine of $250.
She had pleaded no contest to the charge in December.
According to another affidavit prepared by Tanio, she had told him sometime between January and October 2007 Nathania disciplined the 12-year-old girl by tying a rope around the girl’s wrists and ankles and tying her to a vertical post by a stairwell, and leaving her that way for 1 to 11⁄2 hours.
Ashton Malachi Tyler, 20, also was scheduled to be sentenced Monday. After a 11⁄2 hour recess, however, Linder determined the state needed to do more research on his case before handing down the sentencing.
His sentencing has been rescheduled to 2 p.m. March 10.
Ashton has been charged with one felony count of rape by instrumentation. He pleaded no contest to the charge in December.
The 12-year-old girl told Thomas-Johnson she had been sexually assaulted by Ashton in early 2007, according to an affidavit.
He provided a handwritten statement of the admissions, according to the affidavit.