A Michigan man was sentenced to two years in prison and two years probation Thursday after prosecutors learned he owed more than $65,000 in back child support payments to his children's mother.
Shad Sellers, Parma, Mich., appeared in Putnam Circuit Court Thursday due to non-payment of child support. According to Vicki O'Hair of the child support office, Sellers owes his children's mother more than $65,000. O'Hair informed the court they have 1,300 cases for child support in the county and that Sellers' case is right at the top of the list.
During a pretrial investigation, Sellers informed the court that he had been unemployed since 1999 but had been working odd jobs. He also said that the parents of his current girlfriend were paying the support payments. Sellers' attorney, Mindy Jackman, informed the court that Sellers had worked out a loan agreement with his girlfriend's parents.
Sellers also had outstanding warrants in a couple of counties from 2000 to around 2002, and failed to appear several times during different court cases. But he did turn himself in for this case.
Michael Fairley, the father of Sellers' girlfriend, informed the court Sellers had married his daughter in a common law ceremony three years ago, and that he was aware of Sellers past history.
Fairley said that he and Sellers had an agreement that the support was to be paid through a loan. The loan was to be paid back in full with 5 percent interest. He also said that if Sellers was sentenced to serve time, he would cease paying the support payments.
Sellers informed the court that he had tried to obtain employment once he got out of jail, and that he did recently apply to several places. He also said that he received employment Wednesday.
He said his main reasons for not appearing for several of the cases was because he was scared and the divorce from his wife in 1998 shook him up.
"I take full responsibility for all my actions," said Sellers.
Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter asked Sellers if the reason why he did not sign a marriage license was because he knew he would be tracked down and returned to Putnam County. Sellers agreed to the statement, but said he signed his daughter's birth certificate because he knew it was time to set things right.
Sellers said he was sorry he put everybody through this, and he should have taken care of it six years ago instead of now.
Judge Matthew Headley sentenced Sellers to four years in prison, with two years executed and two years of probation.
He is also required to continue to pay support for his children or he could be sentenced to two more years.