A Maricopa County Superior Court judge reluctantly went along with a plea deal Thursday that locked up a West Valley couple for 10 years each for making their 7-yearold son live in a closet.
Judge Ronald Reinstein also prohibited Melanie Loubriel, 29, and Ricardo Loubriel, 40, from seeing their other five children.
"I think you both have forfeited your rights to be parents, forever," Reinstein said.
Reinstein said he was inclined to reject the plea deal, but was swayed by the boy’s therapist and prosecutor Frankie Grimsman, who said testifying at trial would have been detrimental to the child’s mental health.
Police found the boy June 8, 2003, locked in a closet, soiled in feces and urine. He weighed 36 pounds. His parents said he’d been locked up for months.
Isaac Loubriel, now 8, spoke at Thursday’s proceedings in Reinstein’s chambers so he wouldn’t have to face his parents.
He said it was cold in the closet and that his dad hit him less than his mom did.
"I want to thank my dad for not hitting so much," Isaac Loubriel said. "Sometimes my mom hit me a thousand times."
Attorneys for the Loubriels said their clients had low IQ’s, numerous psychological problems and came from dysfunctional families.
"The behavior we saw in this case was learned behavior," defense attorney Tara Egita said.
They also blamed Child Protective Services, which had received nine reports of abuse and neglect about Isaac Loubriel and his family — the last days before he was found.
A CPS caseworker told Isaac’s grandmother to call police if she thought the boy was in danger because the caseworker was too swamped to investigate right away, according to a summary of the family’s file.