WARSAW — “I’ve been doing this job for 24 years, it’s very rare a case like this runs before my eyes. I find it offensive,” said Brad Voelz during the sentencing Thursday, April 21, of Eric Lee Gibson, 37, 7884 S. Packerton Road, Claypool.
Gibson appeared in Kosciusko Superior Court 1 for acceptance of his plea agreement and sentencing. Judge David Cates ordered Gibson to serve 1 ½ years on each of the three counts of battery to a person less than 14 years of age, level 6 felonies. The sentences will be served concurrent. All but 60 days of the sentence was suspended, to be served on home detention. The remaining time will be served on probation. A fourth count was dismissed.
“I’ve poured through the statute … humiliating a child, dehumanizing a child (as higher felony levels) … all I could find was the level 6 felony. He became angry at children while trying to get them to work. He thought it was funny, a joke, an accident … no need for rehabilitation. It’s just a joke, a big mistake. Forget rehab, let’s go straight to punishment.”
Gibson was originally charged with four counts of battery to a person less than 14 years of age, all level 6 felonies. According to the affidavit of probable causes, he put a dog shock collar on his sons and shocked them to get them to do their chores. Two of the boys had the collar placed around the neck, while two had the collar place around the stomachs. The actions caused the boys to experience pain when shocked. The incident occurred on May 31.
Dana Leon, attorney for Gibson stated her client has shown significant remorse and understands his actions. She asked the court to accept the recommendation of probation.
“It shouldn’t have happened,” Gibson told the court. “I hate I can’t see them. I haven’t seen them since Christmas. My ex-wife won’t let me see them or talk to them. What happened shouldn’t have … I was not intentionally trying to hurt them. I told my wife when she came home. She laughed and I apologized to my sons. She waited three days before she reported it … turned myself in … I’m really sorry it happened this way.”
Judge David Cates stated he agreed with the aggravating and mitigating circumstances pointed out in the presentence investigation. “You can look in the mirror and see the cause of the problem,” he told Gisbon.