Life behind bars is the fate of a Pauls Valley couple acting on the husband’s fantasies of incest, while both created a daily home life of horrors for their young children.
A few hours of testimony during a sentencing hearing Monday resulted in a Garvin County judge handing out terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole for both Gerrad Coddington, 25, and his wife, Christina Nelson-Coddington, 30.
The couple have faced a long list of criminal charges accusing them of taking part in sexual acts with a two-year-old girl who is Christina’s biological daughter and Gerrad’s stepdaughter.
Both have also admitted to beating her two young sons, now 10 and six years old, and often withholding food from them.
Gerrad Coddington, restrained in inmate chains, took the stand to express remorse for his actions, while also calling himself “mentally messed up.”
While not shying away from his guilt, Gerrad said it all started for him when he was sexually abused by his stepfather when he was three years old. By the age of 12 he was going online to look at pornography.
“Honestly I feel this is my fault because I originally opened up to Christina, my wife, about my fantasies,” Gerrad said.
“I’ve always had a fantasy about incest. It’s not that I prey on little kids. I always told myself it would be a fantasy I would never act on. So, it’s on me for it. I feel like I was the one at fault.”
Gerrad then described more about his fantasies of committing incest.
“Do I believe incest is OK – yes, as long as you’re not reproducing. I understand it’s wrong but everybody has their own beliefs. I understand it was completely wrong. I should have been there to protect my kids but I didn’t,” he said.
“All the way around I was completely in the wrong. I’m trying to be man enough to stand up for my mistakes. I blame myself for all of this, until the day I die.”
Gerrad added he’s been diagnosed with such conditions as attention deficit, bipolar and manic depression.
“I regret every bit of it. I put my family through hell because of my fantasies. I hurt my family because I’m selfish.
“I am 100 percent sorry. I wish I could go back and this never started.”
Moments later his wife Christina, also held in restraints, briefly took the stand.
Now eight months pregnant with their own child, Christina confirmed her husband had expressed a desire to have sex with the baby after it was born.
“I’m sorry for all I’ve done,” she said. “I’ve lost the chance to be a mom. I never will be the mom I should have been. I’m sorry to all my family, not just my kids.”
She then shed some tears when Assistant Attorney General Matthew Adams called her a “monster.”
“She's the mother who served up her two-year-old daughter to her husband,” Adams said, while pushing for the maximum punishment allowed by law.
After listening to nearly four hours of testimony from various witnesses District Judge Leah Edwards didn’t hesitate to give both defendants multiple life terms, including those without the possibility of parole, and other smaller sentences with all running concurrent to each other.
“This is not an incest case,” Edwards said as she addressed the two defendants in a Pauls Valley courtroom.
“This is a violent rape, sexual abuse of minor children case.”
Edwards said there were aggravating factors weighing heavily on her decision to hand out the harsh sentences.
One was the judge said Christina “utterly” failed in protecting her children, while Gerrad had not only shown a “lack of remorse” for his actions but had written a letter while in jail showing he wanted to continue the sexual acts with young children.