Mo. father who had 4 children with his daughter sentenced to life in prison for murder, rape

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A 49-year-old man who fathered four children with one of his daughters, including one who died after not receiving medical treatment after becoming ill, was sentenced Monday to spend the rest of his life in prison.

The man, whom The Associated Press is not identifying to protect the identity of his victims, shrugged and shook his head when asked by Cass County Circuit Court Judge Jacqueline Cook if he had anything to say, then stood motionless as she read her sentence.

"No sentence I can impose will correct or take away the harm you have done," Cook said. "I see no reason not to follow the jury's recommendation."

The man was convicted in April of all charges against him, including second-degree murder, second-degree rape, two counts of incest and two counts of abandonment of a corpse. The jury recommended the maximum sentence on each count, including life in prison for the murder charge. He was sentenced to another 22 years in prison for the other charges.

Three of the four children the man had with his daughter died, including one who fell off a couch, one who got sick and didn't get proper medical attention, and one who was stillborn. The murder charge stemmed from the death of the child who died after falling ill.

The man's mother, who didn't attend his trial on her doctor's advice, was in the courtroom when Cook proclaimed he would spend his life in prison.

She said her son has found God, and she believes the man's daughter and his wife shared the blame for what happened — much of it in a trailer parked on her property on the outskirts of Harrisonville.

"(She) was with her daddy constantly," the man's mother said. "To me, if he was bothering her, why didn't she do something about it?"

The woman also blamed the man's wife, saying that if she would have been "the right kind of mother, the right kind of wife, none of this would have happened."

The man's mother said she didn't know about any of the babies. Since her son was charged, she said many other family members, including her granddaughter, the victim, won't have anything to do with her.

She said she visits her son about once a month and that he talks about having found God.

"He smiled at me when he came in, and it broke my heart," she said, her voice quivering.

During the man's three-day trial, the daughter — now 20 — testified that her father first had sex with her when she was 5 years old. She said she gave birth to her first child, a daughter, at age 14. The girl died four months later after falling off a couch in the recreational vehicle the family lived in.

Two years later she had a son — the only one of her children who survived. A year later, she had another son, but he died after becoming ill and not receiving medical attention.

His body and that of the victim's fourth child, a daughter who was stillborn, were found in January 2009 in coolers on the rural Harrisonville property where the family — the defendant, the victim, her mother and three sisters — lived in their recreational vehicle.

The man's wife — who is the victim's mother — is scheduled to go on trial in August. She has pleaded not guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of hindering prosecution. She is free on $10,000 bond.