Tammy Andrews sentenced to 8.5 years
By Jon Johnson
The young victim may never truly heal from the mental and physical abuse he suffered at the hands of Tammy Renea Andrews, but at least his healing can begin with the knowledge his attacker will be spending years in prison for her misdeeds.
Andrews, 40, was sentenced to a slightly aggravated term of 8.5 years in prison by Gila County Superior Court Judge Robert Duber II. Andrews previously pleaded guilty to an amended charge of attempted kidnapping – a class-3 felony and dangerous crime against children; child abuse – a class-3 felony that involved the risk of death or serious injury; child abuse – a class-4 felony; and child abuse – a class-5 felony.
She must serve at least 85 percent of her sentence before she is eligible for parole.
That means, with credit for 69 days time served, she must serve slightly more than seven years before she can be released on community supervision. Once her sentence is complete, including the community supervision, she will begin serving five years on probation.
Andrews was booked into the Graham County Jail on Feb. 24, 2010, after her adopted son accused her of repeated abuse.
The 10-year-old child accused Andrews of numerous abuses, including tying him up with string and/or chains, refusing to feed him if he defecated or urinated while tied up, and repeated physical abuse, including being hit with a baseball bat and a hammer, stabbed with a knife and shot with a BB gun.
Chief Deputy County Attorney L. Scott Bennett requested the judge sentence Andrews to the maximum term of 10 years and noted the defendant showed a lack of remorse.
According to a pre-sentence report made by a probation department, Andrews' "primary concern was not what was done to this child" but the embarrassment she received as a result of her actions.
Bennett also pointed out that in a letter on her behalf from her pastor, the pastor said Andrews looked him in the eye and denied all the allegations against her.
"This is not someone who is willing to accept responsibility," Bennett said.
"This is someone who is showing no remorse and, in fact, (is) more concerned about her reputation then the pain she caused this child."
In his rationale for the plea agreement, Bennett stated the only reason the state offered the plea was to spare the victim the horrors of testifying in front of his attacker.
"It is in the best interest of this innocent little boy to protect him from reliving the nightmare by testifying at trial and being subject to the stress of cross examination," Bennett wrote. "Perhaps no amount of time is sufficient to right the wrongs that were committed."
Andrews' attorney, Barry Standifird, requested the judge give the lightest sentence possible of five years in prison and said his client has shown remorse and taken responsibility for what she pleaded guilty to.
"My client did plead guilty to certain things, but not everything," Standifird said. "She does not accept responsibility for all the charges, and she still to this day maintains her not guilty plea as to certain things that are dismissed in the plea."
Standifird said Andrews only committed recent abuses against the victim and that the effects of long-term abuse by the child were due to prior abuse before he was placed in the Andrews' home when he was 6.
Judge Duber said it was clear that the victim suffered long-time abuses at the hand of Andrews. He said the abuse was chronic and over a lengthy period of time. He said an additional aggravator was the fact Andrews removed the child from the supervision of others, such as public schooling, because it showed how she planned to conceal her abuse.
He added that the case was more than "he said, she said" because the police found the hidden bat and hammer with the child's blood on it, along with the chains the victim said would be there.
"If there is anyone here who doubts the child's account of being struck with a bat, being struck with a hammer and being chained, they simply refuse to acknowledge reality," Judge Duber said.
The judge said the facts in the case assured him that there was no question Andrews committed the atrocities.
"Anyone here who walks out and says they still believe you are innocent still believes Osama bin Laden is alive," Duber said.