Friday, October 31, 2014

Custodial dad sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in beating death of 6-year-old son (Pocaltello, Idaho)

As we do updates to the killer dads and custody lists, you may notice an interesting pattern. By the time these fathers are convicted and sentenced, their custody status has been neatly erased. This case is no different.

In fact, dad ANTHONY BLAKE VILES gained custody just TWO MONTHS before he beat to death his 6-year-old son, and before gaining custody, he had NEVER EVEN MET THE BOY. See here for additional background.

Death of son gets Anthony Viles 15 years

Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:20 pm | Updated: 11:58 pm, Tue Oct 15, 2013.

By Jimmy Hancock

POCATELLO — Anthony Blake Viles was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the death of his son Afton Allison.

Sixth District Judge Stephen Dunn, when imposing the sentence, said it was a difficult case because he didn’t believe Viles intended to kill Afton when striking him that April day.

“I think you hit him and a very tragic result came from that,” Dunn said.

But the judge was also clear that society needed to understand that the protection of children is paramount.

“I have to send a message not only to you but to others that children must be treated with great care,” Dunn said, calling the mistreatment of children a “huge problem in our society.”

Viles was charged with first-degree murder in April 2012 after his son died and in August he pleaded guilty to felony voluntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. At one point in the process, it was determined Viles was not competent to aid in his defense, and he was sent to State Hospital South for more than two months, returning with a diagnosis that he was now competent.

Tuesday’s sentencing hearing lasted nearly two hours and began with Viles’ attorney, Bannock County Public Defender Randy Schulthies, calling three witnesses. They included a caseworker with the child protection division of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare who knew Viles prior to Afton’s arrival, and who helped counsel him after his son came to Idaho, a therapist clinician at State Hospital South in Blackfoot, where Viles was committed for a time last year, and Viles’ grandfather.

All three testified to their particular knowledge of Viles’ character. All three testified that they believed violent behavior was out of character for Viles.

But the testimony of Beverly Clayton, the Health and Welfare case worker, and Viles’ grandfather Roy Viles also gave the court a glimpse into what Anthony Viles was dealing with when it came to 6-year-old Afton.

Washington state officials, when talking to Clayton, who was given their name by Viles as a reference, said Afton had some anger issues. Documented case history from Washington state, read in court by Schulthies, shows Afton had bouts controlling his anger and was prone to act out violently, kicking and hitting.

But it was Roy Viles who told the court that he witnessed Afton, on more than one occasion, attempt to hurt himself, hitting himself with toys during one incident and banging his head against a door jam during another.

Afton’s mother, who spoke to the court later in the proceeding, also confirmed that Afton was a lot of work to handle, also saying he was worth it.

All three of the witnesses Schulthies called agreed that Viles was not “equipped” with the skill set to handle Afton’s special needs.

After all witnesses had spoken, Schulthies made his recommendations to Dunn, telling the judge that he doesn’t believe Viles was attempting to hurt Afton when he struck out at the boy, but was doing so in reaction to a substantially difficult situation that he was not equipped to handle.

He recommended Viles be sentenced to three or four years fixed with 10 years indeterminate. He said Viles had asked him to request the judge consider a retained jurisdiction.

Bannock County Prosecutor Steve Herzog said that it is in the parent where trust is placed to protect the child.

“It sounds like Afton had a lot of needs and it was Mr. Viles job to meet those needs,” Herzog told Dunn. “Mr. Viles failed Afton.”

Then Herzog said that even assuming that Viles was just striking out at Afton in reaction to a bad situation, and that the child did experience the most substantial of his injuries when he hit his head falling back, his decision not to seek medical attention immediately was a sign that Viles was “detached.”

Instead, Herzog said, Viles went to visit his daughter, believing that he might not have the opportunity to see her again for a while, fearing he would be headed to prison.

Herzog recommended Viles be sentenced to seven year fixed and eight years indeterminate.

Viles then spoke to the judge, telling him that whatever sentence he handed down would not be as long as the sentence he has already imposed on his heart.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Afton,” Viles said.

Dunn agreed with Viles that the case was a tragic one, but immediately said he believed the entire 15 years available to him should be imposed. He said his primary decision was in determining how much of that 15 years should be fixed prison time, and how much should be left in the hands of the Department of Probation and Parole.

He sentenced Viles to seven years fixed and eight years indeterminate, adding that for those who would suggest he should bar Viles from ever being around children again, it was outside of his jurisdiction to make such a demand.