Father sentenced for taking child
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Marie Turner left the courtroom in tears, but, for once, they were tears of joy.
The father of her 9-year-old son, Casey, was sentenced to two consecutive terms of six to 12 months in prison, followed by 12 months' parole and four years' probation.
Timothy Stamp, 30, of Neshannock Township pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of concealing the whereabouts of a child and interference with custody of a child in June. Judge Ralph Pratt of Lawrence County Common Pleas Court sentenced Stamp.
Stamp left Lawrence County nearly five years ago with then 4-year-old Casey after losing custody of the boy in family court. Turner didn't know his whereabouts until December 2000, when FBI agents found Casey in Simi Valley, Calif., with Stamp. Casey had a new name, new hair color and new birth date, authorities said.
"There is no good reason to take a child away from their parent," Turner said after Stamp's sentencing. Turner and Stamp, who were not married, also have an 8-year-old daughter who remained with Turner during the time Stamp and Casey disappeared.
Stamp told the judge before his sentencing that he had his reasons for taking Casey.
"This was not done out of anger for Marie or for her family. It was done out of love for my son," Stamp said.
Turner reminded the judge that Stamp had two children and left one behind.
"I didn't pick my favorite child, and I didn't conceal the whereabouts of the other child. I'm glad you are getting what you are getting," she said to Stamp.
Judge's remarks: Before sentencing, Judge Pratt admonished Stamp for taking the child.
"There are many times we believe we should do what we believe is right, but it is contrary to our laws. If we allow every person to do what they want, we would not have much of a democracy," Judge Pratt said.
"The worst thing about this case is that a child was taken from his mother and younger sister to an unknown place for 41/2 years. It's very damaging to the child. It's very damaging to the younger sister and it's damaging to the mother," the judge added.
Turner said she hopes Stamp's time in jail will give him an opportunity to reflect on what happened.
"I hope when he gets out he makes the right decisions," she said.
Turner said they are still working out child custody issues in Lawrence County Family Court.