A Wichita County jury has sentenced Sara Ann Woody to 45 years in prison after deliberating for three hours.
On Wednesday, Woody was found guilty of 16 of 26 counts of injury to a child, including three first-degree felony charges of engaging in a pattern of child abuse and/or torture.
The 25-year-old was also found guilty of 13 other counts for hitting her stepsons’ tongues with a spoon, making them lick toilet bowls and hitting their genitals repeatedly.
Thursday morning, Jonathan’s mother, Sharon Woody, testified during the punishment phase.
The boys are currently in her care.
She said on Thanksgiving in 2016, her oldest grandson told her that Sara forced him to lick his younger brother’s rear end. The next day, Sharon Woody said she reported it to Child Protective Services.
Assistant District Attorney John Gillespie asked jurors to see this case through a child’s eyes and sentenced Woody to life in prison.
He also asked them to show her the same mercy she showed her stepsons, saying her dogs were better fed than they were.
Gillespie said he was relieved jurors listened to his pleas when choosing her sentence and feels their decision sends a strong message to the entire community.
“The message is we will not tolerate child abuse. We will charge them. We will investigate them. We will bring them to court and we will passionately go after those who abuse the most vulnerable among us,” Gillespie said.
And, he told jurors Woody caused the children long- lasting damage, including her daughter because she witnessed the abuse and was even encouraged to take part.
Gillespie says the 45- year sentence is absolutely appropriate for the heinous nature of her crimes and that the sentence shows her young victims’ lives matter.
Gillespie: “What she did was a pattern of torture and abuse against the two children with the third child and actually other children in the house. They all had post traumatic stress disorder which is not a simple thing to deal with. It affects the biology of the brain and has long term effects. I’m glad, the argument I made to the jury was, the children will deal with what she did to them for the rest of their lives and she should deal with it for most the rest of her life. And, their verdict accomplishes that.”
Woody faced a wide range of punishment, from probation to life in prison.
Gillespie says her 45 year sentence makes her eligible for parole in 22 and a half years.
Woody’s husband, Jonathan, was expected to be a witness for the prosecution but pled the fifth outside the presence of the jury.
He’s also charged in this case, accused of telling his sons to lie to authorities about the abuse.
His trial date has not been set at this time.