Illinois parents to be sentenced in child’s starvation death

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JERSEYVILLE, Ill. – An Illinois father and stepmother face sentencing after pleading guilty to murder in the starvation death of their 6-year-old son, who authorities said weighed just 17 pounds (8 kilograms) when he died.

Court records show a Wednesday sentencing hearing is scheduled for Michael L. Roberts and Georgena L. Roberts of Jerseyville.

The 43-year-olds both pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in November. Two counts of endangering the life and health of a child were dropped. Both face between 20 and 60 years in prison.

Authorities have said the couple starved the boy as a form of punishment and withheld food and nourishment on a regular basis. When he died, the boy weighed about a third of what a typical 6-year-old weighs. Preliminary autopsy findings indicated the death was extreme malnourishment.

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