Witt sentenced to three years for neglect
A controversial confinement case that saw the defendant often at odds with court officials ended on a quiet, civilized note Wednesday with a Cloverdale man receiving a three-year sentence for neglect of a dependent.
Michael Shane Witt, 34, was sentenced to three years in the Department of Correction with an additional year of probation for the Dec. 29 incident at the Cloverdale home he shared with six children.
Witt agreed late last month to plead guilty to the Class C felony with the understanding that Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter would drop two additional charges of battery causing bodily injury, a Class D felony, and domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor.
On Wednesday afternoon, there was no sign of Witt's formerly flippant attitude that tested Judge Bridges' patience a few short weeks ago. Witt addressed the court simply, respectfully.
Bridges asked how he was doing today.
"I'm all right. How are you?" Witt said.
The judge then asked if he had reviewed the plea agreement and if it met his satisfaction.
"It looks great to me," Witt said.
The details of that agreement are three years with the DOC as agreed upon by Witt and Bookwalter. Witt will receive credit for the 152 days he has already served in the Putnam County Jail.
In addition, Bridges accepted probation officer Teresa Parrish's recommendation of a year of probation upon release. Parrish said in that year, the probation department could make sure Witt was taking his medication and going to any counseling he might need.
Terms of the agreement include that Witt take all required mental health medications, complete all recommended mental health treatment and comply with all Department of Child Services (DSC) orders and directives.
Although he earlier said he did not think he needed probation, Witt accepted this part of the sentence.
"That's fine with me," Witt said.
"That's good because I think that would be in your best interest," Bridges replied.
Bookwalter also asked Bridges, at the defendant's request, that Witt be moved to the DOC as quickly as possible for the counseling and other programs available in such a facility.
"He believes there are more things available to him at DOC," Bookwalter said.
The highly publicized confinement case became public late last year after Witt reportedly became enraged that his 10-year-old stepson had spilled sugar on the kitchen floor.
As punishment, Witt allegedly confined the boy in a room without access to food, water or toilet facilities.
His estranged wife April Wilson-Witt advised authorities Shane had poked the boy who spilled the sugar on top of his head and then elbowed her in the head and face.
It was while interviewing the wife that officers noticed a "strong odor of urine and feces" from a back bedroom area and found a closed door with a rectangular piece removed, resembling a cell opening.
Officers later discovered a stool with a circular section cut out of the seat positioned over a trashcan and trash bag to collect human waste.
Witt was arrested last Dec. 29 and has remained in the Putnam County Jail ever since. His wife was arrested Jan. 10 and has since been released.