JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
A Fulton woman was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison Tuesday for her role in the death of a disabled man.
A federal judge in Jefferson City sentenced Sherry Paulo to 17.5 years in federal prison after she pleaded guilty in November to failing to provide Carl DeBrodie medical care -- which resulted in his death -- and health care fraud. The sentence is in line with the prosecutors' recommendation.
Paulo and Anthony R. Flores admitted to letting DeBrodie die in 2016 despite signs of his poor health.
Paulo and Flores' plea agreement said the two took DeBrodie out of his group home and to their personal residence when he started suffering medical problems. The agreement said DeBrodie died sometime in October 2016, but instead of reporting his death, the couple placed his body in a wooden crate, filled it with cement and hid him in a Fulton storage unit.
Investigators found DeBrodie's body in April 2017.
Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Wilson has agreed to drop state charges against her in exchange for the federal guilty plea.
Paulo was described by federal prosecutors as the "matriarch" of the family, several of which were accused of involvement in hiding DeBrodie's death. One prosecutor wrote in a sentencing memo that Paulo saw DeBrodie as "less than human."
DeBrodie's body spent several days in the bathtub at Paulo's home before it was moved to her storage unit.
In the federal courtroom Monday, Judge Brian Wimes said this case was one of the most deplorable, disturbing and depraved cases he has ever been assigned.
He said people with disabilities are some of society's most vulnerable and are in need of protection.
The judge told Paulo that "the problem is (Carl) had the misfortune of being placed with you." He also said that he wanted to protect the community from Paulo.
One of DeBrodie's ex-caretakers, Carol Samson, testified as a witness during the sentencing. Samson said DeBrodie's death was a huge tragedy that should have never happened.
She also said the days Carl was missing were a nightmare and called for the maximum sentence for all of the defendants in the case.
Nicolas Clark, DeBrodie's half-brother, also testified as a witness. Clark was very emotional during his time at the podium and said his mother was very depressed after his half-brother's death.
DeBrodie's former guardian Mary Martin spoke with ABC 17 News after the sentencing.
"We wanted more. But he got justice. He got something, better than nothing," Martin said. "I'll be glad when this is done. I start thinking of all the suffering that he went through. Now we can just think you know, once this is done, we will think about the fun times that we had."
DeBrodie's family settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit with Second Chance Homes and Callaway County in 2018.