Garvin County District Judge Leah Edwards sentenced Garrad Coddington, 25, and Christina Nelson-Coddington, 30, on Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for their part in what was described as "horrifying acts of abuse and violence with innocent children."
According to the Paul's Valley Daily Democrat, the couple met online in September of 2018 and married a few weeks later on Halloween.
On June 11, 2019 a tip was sent into the Oklahoma Crimes Against Children Task Force concerning an image of child pornography that had been sent through Facebook messenger on May 30th.
It didn't take long before investigators were neck deep in tens of thousands of images and videos and over 6,000 pages of communication between Gerrad and Christina. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said, “They were seeing activity on the internet that suggested there was a minor being exploited.”
On June 13th a search warrant was obtained and the following day it was executed on the Coddington residence in Paul's Valley, Oklahoma. An on-site inspection of Gerrad's cell phone revealed two images relevant to the case.
After being read their Miranda rights, both Gerrad and Christina made statements to authorities implicating themselves in ongoing abuse of a two year old girl, Christina's daughter and Gerrad's step-daughter. They were both arrested the same day.
According to the probable cause statement, Gerrad is said to have told investigators that from the time he was young, he fantasized about an incestuous relationship between himself and a step-daughter. He is said to have told Christina about that fantasy in March of 2019.
During the course of the investigation it was revealed at the other two children in home, boys ages six and ten, had also suffered abuse at the hands of Christina and Gerrad.
Billy Giddens, Christina's mother, is how taking care of the two boys and testified concerning the abuse that the boys had endured and the repercussions of that abuse.
“(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 Coddingtons.
“They told me about the punishments they got, handcuffs, not eating very much,” Giddens said. “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."
Giddens also recounted some of the conversations she's had with the young girl saying, “She’s always afraid of being hurt. She has horrible nightmares waking up screaming. Now she has a more violent temper. She seems angry."
Maria Rosales-Lambert, a forensic examiner, spent time speaking with all three of the children. One of the boys told her of a time when Gerrad used a taser on him and just laughed about it.
“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.”
According to Melissa Neal, an agent with Oklahoma Attorney General's office that worked on the case, the Coddingtons were also discussing abuse of a child that would soon be born as Christina is currently eight months pregnant.
The Coddingtons had pleaded guilty to the 29 charges against them which included child abuse, including first-degree rape, incest, child abuse, manufacturing child pornography and lewd acts with a minor, among others, leaving their fate in the hands of the judge.
“These two individuals engaged in horrifying acts of abuse and violence with innocent children,” Attorney General Mike Hunter said. “These are evil people who presented a danger to society. I commend Judge Edwards’ decision to hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law. I applaud the investigators with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the investigator in my office with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the attorneys who worked on this case to achieve a successful result.”