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Shoplifter who left child alone in car headed to prison

Updated: Tuesday, December 3 2013, 03:48 PM EST

By: NEWS9 and Jon Rudder
WHEELING, W.Va. --

A man found guilty of leaving a child alone in a car while he went shoplifting will serve one to 15 years in prison.

Stephen Clemens was found guilty Oct. 23 of child neglect resulting in serious bodily injury or death and entering without breaking.

At Clemens' sentencing hearing Tuesday, Ohio County Circuit Court Judge James Mazzone ordered that he serve one to five years for the child neglect conviction and one to 10 years for entering without breaking.

Before he was sentenced, Clemens said in court, "I'm sorry for what I did. I've greatly learned my lesson and my mistakes that I took that day. I've been doing whatever I can to better myself and all I want to do is be there for my son."

Members of Clemens' family were in the courtroom and his mother read a letter to the court, stating, "Stephen is a man. He was always a good child. Even as a teen, he was never a problem for us. He loves his stepson and would never do anything to intentionally hurt the boy."

Mazzone said that he would adopt the recommendations set forth within the pre-sentence investigation report.

"The photographs of the child show very clearly that the child was in a very hot car. There was sweat all over the child's face. His hair was disheveled. His shirt was soaking wet," the judge said.

After Clemens serves his sentence for the child neglect conviction, he will be eligible for a Rule 35 hearing, which could approve his early release. To come to a decision at that time, the judge will take into account Clemens' rehabilitation and discipline record while in jail.
 
The child's mother, Jeanette Darnley, is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 30 for her sentencing.
    
Darnley pleaded guilty last week by means of an Alford plea, which essentially means she is not admitting guilt but knows the state has enough evidence against her to convict her.

Stay with NEWS9 and WTOV9.com for continuing coverage.

Shoplifter who left child alone in car headed to prison


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