Trebilcocks found guilty on 2 counts

Date: 2012-07-31
Source: KOIN 6

LONGVIEW, Wash. -- The bench trial of a Longview couple accused of starving their five adopted children has wrapped up.

And the judge's verdict is: guilty on two charges of criminal mistreatment.

The Cowlitz County couple, Jeffery and Rebecca Trebilock, will have to wait to hear their fate. However, they now know they will receive some sort of sentence after their nearly two-week trial in Cowlitz County court.

The judge handed down one count of first-degree criminal mistreatment for their oldest boy, now 14 years old. This is a felony count. The second count, of third-degree criminal mistreatment, is a misdemeanor. It was handed down for the treatment of one of their adopted girls. Both kids testified in court.

The couple was acquitted of 11 other counts, including felony assault.

Police say the oldest boy, then 13, was 4-foot-4 and weighed only 49 pounds -- as much as a normal 6-year-old -- when they took him into protective custody. During the course of the investigation, detectives say they learned that the parents used an alarm to prevent the children from touching any food in the kitchen. They say punishment for taking food included being beaten with a wood board and outside water torture.

The Trebilcocks also have three biological children of similar ages; they appeared to not have suffered any neglect.

What's next?

KOIN will be in court for the couple's sentencing next month. At that time, the judge will decide their punishment.

They are expected to receive a sentence of anywhere from four years and three months to five years and seven months. They have not served any time yet, so there will be no credit for time served.

The Trebilcocks responded to KOIN's questioning with a response of "no comment." The Trebilcock's attorney called them "good parents" whose punishment has already gone too far.

The back story

Jeffrey and Rebecca Trebilcock were arrested May 17, following a two-month investigation that began when Washington State Children Protective Services discovered the 13-year-old boy. He was taken into protective custody in March.

His four other adopted siblings -- all sisters -- were taken into custody a week later and diagnosed with neglect by a pediatric doctor. The girls ranged in age from 10 to 12 years old.

KOIN has learned that Derrick Whittington, the brother of the Trebilcock's two oldest adopted children, is petitioning to become legal guardian.

"I feel very relieved now that all those kids, not just my brother and sister, will be able to be safe," Whittington said, "and grow healthy, and have normal and healthy lives."

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