MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A Mt. Pleasant couple were sentenced to a combination of sixteen years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to their roles in the starvation death of their 9-month old son.
A judge sentenced Charles Lewis Gordon IV to seven years in prison plus five years of probation. His wife, Ashley Nicole Gordon, was sentenced to nine years in prison and five years probation.
The couple pled guilty to homicide by neglect on Tuesday. Investigators said that both parents neglected to provide "necessary care to sustain" their son Andrew's life.
Ashley Gordon addressed the judge, while sobbing, during the hearing Thursday, saying she loved her son with all her heart and that she didn't believe things were as "serious" as they were at the time of the child's death.
"There isn't a day that goes by without me wishing that I could go back and do all of this over again," Ashley Gordon said in court on Thursday before sentencing. "I love Andrew with all of my heart and will continue to love him. When I was with him all I saw was my happy little baby that just loved to be held. I knew he was small, but I truly believed it was nothing as serious as it was."
The prosecutor in the case said the couple did not starve the baby on purpose, but failed to get medical care.
"The only explanation was that they did not have insurance," said Debbie Herring-Lash with the solicitor's office.
Lash also said the couple's seven-year-old son often prepared Andrew's bottle, and failed to properly feed the infant.
"It's just that the method of feeding was very often propping the bottle up on a towel while the baby was not getting all of the nutrition."
Charles Gordon did not address the judge Thursday. He made his comments during the couple's plea hearing on Tuesday.
According to authorities, at birth, Andrew weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces, but at his death just 9 months later, he only weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces. The cause of death was determined to be Marasmus, a chronic undernourishment condition that occurs mostly in children.
Marasmus is caused by a diet deficiency in calories and proteins.
During a press conference in July of 2010, police said the couple was arrested based on extreme indifference to human life and that they failed to exercise due care for the child.
"The details of this investigation are horrific, and demonstrate the criminal nature of this neglect," Mt. Pleasant Police Chief Harry Sewell said at the time of the investigation. "His room was in complete disarray. His crib was stacked with soiled blankets and towels, and had multiple bottles of soured formula in it."
Police also said that the last time Andrew Gordon received medical care was when he was born at the hospital. According to police, the child also did not receive adequate food, shelter or healthcare.