ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Update 4:45 p.m.
After hearing impassioned testimony and evidence of physical abuse of three girls during their time spent in Echo Terry’s custody, Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton postponed the sentencing until May 23 at 1:30 p.m.
“I’m going to do what judges are supposed to do; think,” Wolverton said on Tuesday.
Dimitri Shein, the adoptive father of the three girls, told Channel 2 that he’s frustrated that Wolverton postponed the sentencing, but he is willing to wait for justice to be served. He, along with the state prosecution, are advocating for the maximum sentence of 27 years in prison “to protect the public from future harm.”
The sentencing of Echo Terry, who was accused in August 2018 of starving and abusing her three adopted daughters and convicted on 15 different charges, began just after 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Nesbett Courthouse in Anchorage.
Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton is presiding over the sentencing. He says he likely will not reach a decision by the end of Tuesday’s hearing.
Nathaniel Buck, a pastor at Agape Fellowship in Palmer, testified as a character witness on Terry’s behalf at the start of the hearing. He said as a pastor, he’s accustomed to proceeding with caution with congregation members like Terry, but that she was open and transparent from the start.
“I have known Echo Terry for about three years since she started coming to my church. She disclosed to me within the first week what was going on in her personal life,” Buck said. “I wouldn’t hesitate to allow her to watch my kids.”
The adoptive parents of the three girls who Terry is guilty of recklessly causing injury to, a second-degree assault charge, also testified.
“I just want to say that [name redacted], the oldest girl, was very torn about showing up today. I have to say as a mother I’m glad she didn’t," said Melissa Shein, the girls' adoptive mother. "It’s really disappointing to see how our community is standing behind someone like this, rather than our children.”
Channel 2 has chosen not to name the girl.
Dimitri Shein, the adoptive father, repeatedly referred to Terry as a monster, becoming very emotional during his testimony. He emphasized Terry’s ability to manipulate members of the church she attends into supporting and defending her.
“This what this monster does. She uses her training, she learns, to manipulate authorities,” Shein said. “This is why she deserves a maximum sentence.”
This is a developing story and will be updated when the hearing concludes.
Copyright KTUU 2019. All rights reserved.