Abuse to have long lasting impact

Christina Nelson-Coddington (left) looks over to her husband, Gerrad Coddington, as both were sentenced Monday to terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole. (PV Democrat photo)

Depraved acts of sexually abusing a two-year-old girl and harshly beating her two older brothers in a Pauls Valley home now has their mother and stepfather facing lifetime terms in prison.

Sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole were handed down this week to both Gerrad Coddington, 25, and Christina Nelson-Coddington, 30.

Even though both admitted to committing the abuse the impact of their actions could be far-reaching well into the future for all three children.

Along with the abuse of the young girl the local couple also beat, restrained and even withheld food from Christina’s two sons, now 10 and six years old.

Billy Giddens is Christina’s mother and now the guardian of her two grandsons, while they also get regular visits from the young girl abused in this case.

Her testimony does offer a whole lot more into what the two boys went through with the abuse they experienced.

“They told me about the punishments they got, handcuffs, not eating very much,” Giddens said from the witness stand during a sentencing hearing in a Pauls Valley courtroom this week.

“The boys told us about being handcuffed and their feet getting cuffed as punishment if they did something wrong. They were beat with a wooden spoon, a paddle of some sort.

“Gerrad would tell them if they behaved they would get a sandwich a day. If they didn’t behave they would get two pieces of bread with no meat.”

She said the boys didn’t go to school very much and neither received the proper dental care as each one has more recently had four teeth pulled.

“(One) is terrified to go to sleep. (The other) has several nightmares, at least three to four times a week.

“I’ve asked the boys and they just don’t want to see them, either one of them, ever again,” she said, referring to the Coddington couple.

Giddens also described some of the talks she’s had with the young girl.

“She’s always afraid of being hurt. She has horrible nightmares waking up screaming. Now she has a more violent temper. She seems angry.

“She’ll say don’t hurt my mouth, don’t hurt me,” Giddens said.

•••

Forensic examiner Maria Rosales-Lambert has talked to each of the three children with most of the responses coming from the two boys.

“He talked about one time when he accidentally hurt his aunt and his mom pushed him to the ground and it kind of hurt,” she said, referring to the younger boy.

“He talked about Mr. Coddington, he called him dad, had a taser and he would use it for no reason. He talked about how much it hurt. He talked about another time when he got tasered and Mr. Coddington just laughed about it.”

Rosales-Lambert testified the older boy once talked about having his feet cuffed and a rag placed in his mouth as he was spanked with a wooden spoon by both defendants. The youngster later noticed a bruise on his back from that incident.

Another time the boy described having his hands and feet cuffed as he was spanked and told to go to bed around 5 in the evening with nothing to eat.

Other times the boys said they were ordered to stand with their noses touching a wall for extended periods.

Child specialist Monica Brandenburg testified the older boy described one incident when he was punished for trying to get food from the kitchen.

“Once he went into the kitchen to get food and he was caught. He was told he was stealing the food, so he was handcuffed,” she said.

“They had to ask permission to eat the food even when it was placed in front of them.”

•••

Melissa Neal, agent from the state attorney general’s office who worked the case, testified the first alerts came from the defendants’ online use of Facebook to get messages to each other.

It started with an explicit photo of a young girl and messages about various sex acts, which led to a search of the couple’s Pauls Valley home and ultimately their arrests.

Other online photos were found on their phones and a video showing the couple's acts on the young girl.

Thousands of pages of online messages between the defendants were retrieved in the case as their Facebook pages were shut down in early June and authorities alerted to the possibility of sexual abuse.

“He said both of them had performed sex acts with (the girl),” Neal said about Gerrad's statements to her.

There were also letters written by Gerrad adding to the evidence in the case.

“They referenced incest and wanting to do sex acts with their unborn child,” she said as Christina Coddington is currently eight months pregnant.

She said the evidence shows the couple first began discussing the idea before the sex acts actually occurred.

“They started talking about incest, specifically with their children, on April 1, 2019. It evolved into let’s have sex with our kids.”

Apparently the couple first considered the older boy but that idea didn’t work out, while they believed the younger boy was a risk because “he couldn’t keep a secret.”

Neal said the defendants then targeted the young girl since “she couldn’t tell anyone.”

“A lot of their talks are about sex, from underage kids to what they want to do with each other. Gerrad has an incest fantasy, and he tells his soulmate about it,” Neal said.

“Then they start discussing about how they can make this happen.”

The Coddingtons met online in September last year and got married a few weeks later on Halloween Day 2018.

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