(Salt Lake City-AP) -- West Jordan parents who starved their two children as punishment will receive mental health treatment -- not a jail sentence.
Roger Alan Leach and the children's stepmother, Jamee College Leach, had starved the boy and girl -- now ages 12 and 13 -- to the point where the boy had stopped growing and the girl was stealing food from school.
At home, the refrigerator was kept locked with a cable.
Charged last year with two counts each of second-degree felony child abuse, Roger Leach pleaded guilty this week to a lesser third-degree felony count of child abuse, and Jamee Leach pleaded "no contest" to the same count.
The pleas for both defendants will be held in abeyance for 1 year.
Prosecutors conceded they had given the defendants "an extraordinary deal," but one that spared the children from the trauma of a trial. Plus it gets the parents "serious mental health treatment."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)