A Missouri man who admitted using a stun gun as “discipline” on three toddlers has been sent to prison.
Gale Epple, 23, pleaded guilty to three felony charges of abuse or neglect of a child, reported the Springfield News-Leader.
Judge Thomas Mountjoy of Springfield sentenced him to four years in prison for each charge.
Epple was arrested in July of 2017 for “disciplining” a two-year-old girl and one-year-old twins with his stun gun, reported KMOV at the time.
A babysitter reported the abuse to police.
“Thankfully, a babysitter stepped in and did the right thing to protect these small children from further abuse,” the Springfield Police Department noted on Facebook.
The abused were the children of Shelby Crabtree, who was described at the time as Epple’s wife, reported the News-Leader. She has been charged with three counts of child endangerment but hasn’t been brought to trial yet.
Epple admitted he used the stun gun as a form of discipline but argued that it didn’t hurt the children. “That don’t hurt though, that’s a stun gun,” Epple said.
Police and social services workers found a “filthy” home when they entered the residence after arresting Epple, “with trash covering most of the floor and cockroaches visible on the counters and sinks,” according to the bond document.
People commented on the police department’s post on Facebook.
“Thank God for the babysitter. I hope they use a stun gun on them every hour on the hour for the rest of their life,” said one.
“What about their ‘mother?’ She did nothing to protect them or even take care of them from the sound of it. As a mother, I cannot comprehend putting anyone or anything above my boys,” said another.
“They did charge the mother for those that didn’t READ the article. But 4 years for 3 charges of felony abuse seems pretty light sentence,” said yet another.