A North Carolina man pleaded guilty Wednesday to chaining an 11-year-old boy to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck
Dorian Harper agreed to plead guilty to six felonies and one misdemeanor to cut in half the maximum time he could have spent in prison from more than 20 years to no more than 10 ½ years, reported WBTV-TV.
The 58-year-old Harper rejected a plea agreement earlier in the week, before the trial began, but he agreed to plead guilty after a jury was seated so the children in his care would be spared from testifying against him.
Harper told the judge he still loved the children and apologized to them.
Prosecutors said the boy, who was a foster child, was victimized along with five other children in the home.
The foster child was chained day and night, and Harper did not dispute that he starved the boy, burned him with electrical wires, and used pliers on his hands.
All the children slept on the floor with dirty blankets, prosecutors said.
Harper’s partner, Wanda Sue Larson, also faces child abuse charges in the case and is scheduled to stand trial next month.
Larson was a supervisor at the time at the Department of Social Services, and Harper was an emergency room nurse.
The foster child’s biological mother said the boy felt bad that Harper would serve jail time, but she asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence because her son still feared him.
Deputies went to the couple’s home in November 2013 in response to an animal service complaint.
Five children, four of whom were adopted, were removed from the home along with 11 dogs.
Watch this video report posted online by WBTV-TV: