Melissa Jenkins, the mother of 8-year-old Robert Manwill, who was abused and murdered in 2009, needed to have a hearing device adjusted this morning as she listened to her fate for her role in the death of her son. Jenkins' boyfriend, Daniel Ehrlick, was earlier sentenced to a life in prison without parole for the 1st degree murder of Manwill. Jenkins pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the crime.
Prior to her sentencing, witnesses told District Court Judge Darla Williamson that they had seen Jenkins slap her son, "calling him names like 'loser'."
Prosecutors recommended that Jenkins serve a sentence of 25 years in prison with no parole, saying "she actively participated in the abuse and torture" of her son.
Before sentencing, Jenkins stood up and turned to her ex-husband, Charles Manwill, the boy's father.
"I didn't protect Robert," she said, sobbing. "I know all I had to do is ask for help. It's my fault that Robert isn't with us anymore." She broke down repeatedly. "I'm going to prison where I belong."
Finally, Williamson agreed to the sentencing. Jenkins agreed not to file any appeal. She will be transported to the Idaho Women's Correctional Institute in Pocatello.
"This is over," said Williamson, looking at Jenkins. "Everyone knows that you could have prevented the death of your son. Your tears are not consistent. I'm just not buying it that you have all this remorse. Parents would die for their children. You deserve the worst of punishments for what you allowed to happen to Robert. Bottom line is, I'd like to impose a greater sentence, but I've agreed to accept the agreement of a 25-year fixed sentence."