Sentencing was scheduled for today for a Laclede County couple who were convicted of second-degree involuntary manslaughter in May.
Ronda and Robert Shrout each faced a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the first degree in their April bench trial.
Twenty-sixth Judicial Circuit Presiding Judge Kenneth Hayden found both the Shrouts guilty of a lesser charge, involuntary manslaughter in the second degree, when he announced his verdict in May.
Involuntary manslaughter in the second degree is a Class D felony with a maximum prison sentence of four years. A conviction for the first-degree charge, a Class C felony, would have carried a sentence of up to seven years.
The Shrouts’ sentences had not been announced as of press time today.
In announcing his verdict, the judge did not find that the Shrouts had acted “recklessly” in causing Aaron Eugene Johnson’s death, but he did hold them responsible for not acting as any reasonable person would have acted to take care of Johnson, who was mentally retarded and had exhibited several behavioral problems.
Emergency responders were dispatched on Jan. 24, 2006, to the couple’s mobile home on Cool Water Drive in Falcon after the family had called to report Johnson was not responding.
Johnson was lying on a urine-soaked mattress on a floor in a bedroom. The bottom pane of the window had been broken. A tarp covered the floor, and a bucket that had been used as a toilet sat in a corner.
Johnson was covered with open sores, bruises and abrasions, but what killed him was bronchopneumonia, according to the autopsy report.
The Shrouts were arrested and charged four months later.
Both waived their rights to a jury trial and were tried before Hayden April 23-25.