A Georgia woman was sentenced to 200 years in prison, and 200 years probation, for subjecting her nine children to “horrendous” living conditions and allowing her husband to torture them.
The Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office announced that Stephanie Danielle Davis, 37, pleaded guilty to 42 counts of child abuse against her nine children, on Friday, March 11.
The case first came to light in February 2020 when one of the children, a teen boy, told the Calhoun Police Department that he escaped from home and that his stepfather “slapped and punched him, hit him with a stick, strangled him, burned him with hot oil, locked him in a closet and beat him with a belt and a wooden cane.”
At that time, the police said the boy had “visible injuries all over his head and body” as well as a broken eardrum. After investigation, police arrested Stephanie and her husband and stepfather to the children, Christopher Matthew Davis, 43. After being found guilty of 47 charges, Christopher received two consecutive life sentences plus 841 years in prison.
According to the Cherokee DA’s Office, the abuse committed by the stepfather against nine children, ranging in age from 3-17, included them being “locked in an unheated closet with no bathroom, strangled until they passed out, forced to sit on a fire ant pile and burned with items such as sparklers and hot oil.”
The police authorities in their investigation found that the children were given little food and water on purpose, forcing the kids to eat spoiled food, and locking them upstairs when the parents were away. They also said that the children were living without adequate clothing, lacking beds, blankets and pillows.
Early in 2019, counselors in the Gordon County school system reported that they suspected the children were being abused to the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS), at which point the mother pulled them out of public school. It wasn’t clear how far DFCS pursued the case.
Katie Gropper, a prosecutor in the DA’s Office said, “The abuse these nine children suffered at the hands of Mr and Mrs Davis was horrendous.” Stephanie Davis, the mother of the children initially painted herself as a “helpless victim”, but the evidence “demonstrated her extensive involvement.”
Gropper said, “She not only held the children down while they were beaten and burned by her husband Christopher Davis, but also crafted cover stories for the children to tell their teachers and DFCS if they were ever asked about their injuries. Her efforts to influence and manipulate the children to recant their allegations continued even after her arrest.”
According to the DA’s office, two of the woman’s children provided statements during their mother’s sentencing. The children “testified that the physical wounds and suffering they experienced were painful, but the betrayal of their own mother left deeper wounds that will take much longer to heal.”
Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace said, “Today, the children are in stable and loving foster homes and have demonstrated incredible resilience,” before adding, “these children are now able to live freely, without fear, and to rise above this trauma.”