Government appealing “unreasonably low” sentences of Army major, wife in child abuse case

John Jackson and his wife Carolyn Jackson walk out of Martin Luther King, Jr. Courthouse, Thursday, May 9, 2013, in Newark. Photo Credit: Associated Press

The punishment that a U.S. Army major and his wife received for abusing their foster children was far too lenient, say prosecutors.

They are appealing the sentences that were handed down  in January for John Jackson and his wife, Carolyn. The US Attorney’s office was seeking prison terms of 14 years for  John and 19 years for his wife.

Judge Katherine Hayden sentenced Carolyn to 2 years behind bars. Jackson, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was discharged from the Army in May– was sentenced to probation and  slapped with a $15,000 fine.

In her ruling, Hayden stated that the couple got “mixed up in a case about corporal punishment that went out of control” and called the government’s recommended sentences “outrageous”– reported.

During the trial – prosecutors argued that the couple tortured 3 of their adopted children over a five-year period at Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County, New Jersey.  They hit them daily, starved and neglected them and forced them to eat red pepper flakes- the prosecutors stated.

“The court granted mercy where none was deserved — to experienced and educated parents who knew how to successfully raise children; showed no remorse for their actions,” prosecutors wrote in their legal briefs filed on Thursday.

One of the foster children died before the age of 3, but the Jacksons weren’t charged with causing his death and it wasn’t presented as evidence in the trial. Another child survived by “drinking from the toilet and stealing food.”

The defendants’ oldest biological son reportedly testified at trial and asked the court to give his parents the “maximum amount of jail time allowed.”

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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