The fate of Elizabeth Johnson, the mother of "Baby Gabriel," will be decided at Johnson's sentencing today.
While the jury failed to reach a verdict on the kidnapping charge, Johnson was convicted in October of custodial interference, unlawful imprisonment, and conspiracy to commit custodial interference. She could either walk away a free woman or face up to nine and a half years in prison, CBS 5 News reports.
Gabriel hasn't been seen since Dec. 26, 2009. Although prosecutors had a voice recording of Johnson allegedly saying that she had killed the boy and placed him in a trash can, they didn't have enough evidence to charge her with murder.
Gabriel's father Logan McQueary won't be at the sentencing, but he plans to call in and let the judge know his thoughts on the matter. "I'm just going to be explaining what we've done for the past few years and how much pain it's put a lot of people through in my family and I don't think she should get off lightly," McQueary told CBS 5.
Johnson's attorney Marc Victor, on the other hand, believes his client has already served enough time. "I really think that probation is the appropriate sentence here. She's already done three years," Victor said, according to CBS 5.
However, if Johnson is sentenced to anywhere near the maximum terms for her crimes, her prison stay will far exceed three years. The custodial interference conviction alone can lead to a four-year sentence, and in total she could spend up to nine and a half years in prison for her convictions.
McQueary says the sentencing will be bittersweet. While it will bring some closure to the ordeal, he'll still be in the dark about what happened to his son.
- Elizabeth Johnson to be Sentenced in Missing Son Case (AZfamily.com)
- Custody Overview (FindLaw)
- How Child Custody Decisions are Made (FindLaw)
- Lakers' Steve Nash Wants His Kids to Stay in Arizona (FindLaw's Phoenix Family Law Blog)