AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — On Friday, Cecilia Burnette and her boyfriend, Theodore Manna, were sentenced in Augusta County Circuit Court for their involvement in the abuse of Burnette's son.
Burnette and Manna pleaded guilty to malicious wounding charges in December 2018. Burnette and Manna were each sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Augusta County Commonwealth's Attorney Tim Martin said 20 years is the maximum sentence for that charge.
Martin said Burnette and Manna abused the child over the span of a couple weeks. He described the abuse as torture, and said it was not like anything he had ever seen in his time as a prosecutor.
Evidence showed the boy's hands were routinely bound behind the back of his head while he was tied to a door, according to the Associated Press. The evidence showed Manna then repeatedly beat the boy with a belt. During beatings, he was stripped naked and kicked in the stomach and testicles.
Martin said the case was a rare situation.
"I argued for the statutory maximum, which is 20 years," Martin said. "I can count on one hand the number of times I've argued to a judge for a statutory maximum for a crime."
Martin said the recommended sentencing time for malicious wounding varies, depending on prior criminal history. In Burnette's case, she had a criminal history for her involvement in the death of one of her previous children, who was shaken to death. Martin said her recommended sentence was around eight years, and Manna's was around five.
Martin said this was a good outcome, in the sense that Burnette and Manna received long sentences.
"There is a sense of justice that comes from a long sentence," Martin said. "That's regardless from the deterrent effect that it may have on people."