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Man gets life in prison in Calif. teen torture

A judge has sentenced a California man to three life sentences for participating in the imprisonment and torture of a neighbor boy.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A central California man was sentenced Monday to three life sentences in prison for torturing a boy who was burned and beaten while being held captive for more than a year.

Anthony Waiters, 31, was the only one of four defendants to be tried on charges that included holding Kyle Ramirez captive inside a Tracy home where Ramirez said he was kept shackled to furniture.

Waiters, a former youth football coach who didn't testify during his trial, told San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Terrence Van he was innocent and has love and respect for "Mr. Kyle" and his family.

"I'm not a malevolent person," Waiters said at sentencing. "I believe I'm altruistic."

Waiters' attorney, Allan Jose, said his client intends to appeal.

A jury convicted Waiters in November of torture, kidnapping, child abuse and false imprisonment. He was ordered to serve the three life sentences concurrently and will be eligible for parole after nearly 19 years.

Waiters' neighbors — Michael Schumacher; Schumacher's wife, Kelly Layne Lau; and the teen's then-legal guardian, Caren Ramirez — are serving at least 30 years in prison after accepting plea deals.

Prosecutor Angela Hayes said after Monday's sentencing that Waiters is still in denial.

"In his mind he's convinced himself that he didn't do those things," Hayes said. "He knows full well what he did. The evidence is overwhelming."

The teen's aunt, Sydney Perry, later told reporters: "For him to stand up and act as if he's been framed or he's innocent is ridiculous."

Ramirez testified during Waiters' trial in October that Waiters cut him, lit his pants on fire and beat him unconscious between 2007 and 2008.

"They were all just laughing at me because I was trying to put the fire out," Ramirez testified.

He said when he first arrived at the home, he was forced to do chores and sleep near a fireplace, chained to a coffee table.

The teen recounted other acts of cruelty, alleging Waiters once cut his arm and poured bleach on the wound while others held him down.

The emaciated teen, then 16, escaped by jumping on a backyard trampoline, hopping a retaining wall and running to a nearby health club in December 2008 wearing only boxer shorts and a shackle across his ankle.

Earlier this month, lawyers for the teen filed a claim against Sacramento County Child Protective Services accusing the agency of ignoring signs of abuse for seven years. The county declined comment on pending litigation.

The county has declined comment on the pending litigation.