- Associated Press - Saturday, June 7, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A Lexington couple has been sentenced for abuse and neglect in the death of their disabled adult son from starvation and dehydration.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports (https://bit.ly/1xo3jla) Jerry Lakes was sentenced to 20 years and Peggy Joyce Whitlock was sentenced to 10 years in Fayette Circuit Court on Thursday.

Gerald Lee Lakes was 24 when he was found dead last March in a Lexington motel room where the family lived.

Investigators testified that Jerry Lakes gambled with thousands of dollars in Social Security payments that were meant to support Lakes and the couple’s other children.

Police said an adult daughter was fed and cared for, but the two sons who survived subsisted mostly on chocolate milk. Police said both men were under 100 pounds when they were discovered and weren’t able to stand without support.

Investigators testified that Gerald Lakes could not feed himself and was completely dependent on others for his care.

Disability money was deposited into a bank account at the beginning of each month and Jerry Lakes was the only person with access to it. He first told investigators the $4,000 a month went to pay debts but later said he might be “gambling it all away.” Detectives found evidence that Lakes spent thousands of dollars in an Indiana casino.

According to testimony, when asked how she thought her son had died, Whitlock told detectives, “He didn’t have enough to eat.”

Jerry Lakes earlier pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, knowing abuse or neglect of an adult, exploitation and theft. Whitlock pleaded guilty to knowing abuse and neglect.

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, https://www.kentucky.com


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