Here is a follow up about the Schatzes prison sentence from the Paradise Post. Note the quotes from Lydia’s older sister, Zariah, as well from as Elizabeth Schatz who apparently realized too late that they were on a “foolish path.” Entire article quoted here for permanence.
Paradise couple gets prison for fatal beatingFather gets two life termsPosted: 06/10/2011 12:06:11 PM PDT
A Paradise couple convicted of whipping an adopted daughter to death and injuring two other children was sentenced Friday to upper terms in state prison.Butte County Superior Court Judge Kristen Lucena sentenced Kevin Paul Schatz, 48, to serve at least 22 years of two life terms for second-degree murder and torture. Elizabeth Hazel Schatz, 44, was sentenced to serve 13 years, four months for voluntary manslaughter and infliction of unlawful corporal punishment.
Both Schatzes were also sentenced to six months in county jail for misdemeanor cruelty to a child. They were credited for time served.
Addressing the defendants, Lucena said their punishment for whipping their children for hours with a thin, 15-inch length of plumbing supply line was inappropriate. “No civilized society would tolerate that,” Lucena said.
The sentences were largely known in advance because of a plea bargain April 8. The couple had faced charges of first-degree murder and torture and two possible life sentences. Before the sentence was handed down a surviving adopted daughter, 12, addressed the court. With a soft-spoken voice that was often punctuated with tearful sobs, she said her 7-year-old sister, Lydia, meant the world to her and Lydia’s death really hurt.
“Why did you adopt her? To kill her?” the daughter asked.
The Schatzes were arrested after they called 9-1-1 after Lydia had stopped breathing on Feb. 6, 2010. A follow-up investigation by Paradise Police to the Schatz
residence found the other daughter in the house, limping.As part of a punishment for reportedly mispronouncing words, both girls had been whipped for hours by Kevin Schatz with the supply line. Elizabeth Schatz reportedly assisted. Lydia was whipped for about seven hours on Feb. 5, while her sister was punished for similar period the night before. A 10-year-old biological son was also injured.
The repeated whipping caused a breakdown in muscle tissue that severely damaged the girls’ organs.
Lydia was taken to the hospital but later perished from her injuries. The other daughter was hospitalized for similar injuries, but eventually recovered. The older daughter said she would ultimately forgive the Shatzes, but was confused by the actions and condemned their use of corporal punishment.
“I don’t know what I did to deserve what you did to me,” she said.
As the daughter made her statement, the Schatzes sat facing forward, not looking at the girl. They did sometimes bow their heads and wiped their faces. Earlier in the hearing, Elizabeth Schatz asked for the daughter’s forgiveness. She said Feb. 6, 2010, was the saddest day of her life because their actions killed a daughter, severely injured another and tore their family apart. She said she wished that they had paused to consider the repercussions of their actions.
“We surely would’ve deviated from the foolish path we ended up taking,” Elizabeth Schatz said.
Kevin Schatz apologized for what happened.
“I accept full responsibility for the injury and death of my two daughters,” he said.
Michael Harvey, Kevin Schatz’s attorney, said most people know it’s inappropriate to shake a baby, but few had heard of the medical condition that could be caused by the Schatz’s disciplinary method.
“This is a tragic case. It’s an example of trying to do the right thing in a wrong way,” Harvey said.
Kevin Sears, Elizabeth Schatz’s attorney, said the case was a tragedy and didn’t dispute the death or injury. However, he asserted the probation report wasn’t wholly accurate. In particular, he said the hours of whipping were interrupted with periods of prayer and reflection.
District Attorney Mike Ramsey said the Schatzes have often characterized their actions as inappropriate discipline, which he said showed a lack of insight. While acknowledging the death and injuries weren’t intentional, he said their actions, including the whippings and other punishments, were over the top.
“This was beating. This was torture. This was inhuman,” he said.
Kevin Schatz is ineligible for good conduct credits due to the murder conviction, meaning he will serve 22 years before being considered for parole. He was given credit for 310 days served in county jail. Elizabeth Schatz was credited for 387 days of jail time served and could earn an additional 670 days’ credit in prison.