PAULS VALLEY, Oklahoma – Life behind bars is the fate of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, couple acting on the husband’s fantasies of incest, while both created a daily life of horror for their young children.
A few hours of testimony during a sentencing hearing Monday resulted in a Garvin County judge handing out terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole for both Gerrad Coddington, 25, and his wife, Christina Nelson-Coddington, 30.
The couple have been accused of taking part in sexual acts with a 2-year-old girl, who is Christina’s biological daughter and Gerrad’s stepdaughter. Both have admitted to beating her two sons, now 10 and 6 years old, and often withholding food from them.
Gerrad Coddington, restrained in inmate chains, took the stand to express remorse for his actions, while also calling himself “mentally messed up.”
Gerrad said his problems began when he was sexually abused by his stepfather when he was 3. By age 12, he was looking at pornography online.
“Honestly, I feel this is my fault because I originally opened up to Christina, my wife, about my fantasies,” Gerrad said. “I’ve always had a fantasy about incest. It’s not that I prey on little kids. I always told myself it would be a fantasy I would never act on. So, it’s on me for it. I feel like I was the one at fault.”
Gerrad then described more about his fantasies.
“Do I believe incest is OK? Yes, as long as you’re not reproducing. I understand it’s wrong but everybody has their own beliefs. I understand it was completely wrong. I should have been there to protect my kids but I didn’t,” he said. “I’m trying to be man enough to stand up for my mistakes. I blame myself for all of this, until the day I die.”
Gerrad added he’s been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder and manic depression.
“I put my family through hell because of my fantasies. I hurt my family because I’m selfish," he said. “I am 100 percent sorry. I wish I could go back and this never started.”
Moments later, his wife Christina, also held in restraints, briefly took the stand. Now eight months' pregnant with their own child, Christina confirmed her husband had expressed a desire to have sex with the baby after it was born.
“I’m sorry for all I’ve done,” she said. “I never will be the mom I should have been. I’m sorry to all my family, not just my kids.”
She shed tears when Assistant Attorney General Matthew Adams called her a “monster.”
“She's the mother who served up her 2-year-old daughter to her husband,” Adams said, while pushing for the maximum punishment allowed by law.
After listening to nearly four hours of testimony from witnesses District Judge Leah Edwards gave both defendants multiple life terms, including those without the possibility of parole, and other smaller sentences, with all running concurrently.
“This is not an incest case,” Edwards said. “This is a violent rape, sexual abuse of minor children case.”
Edwards said aggravating factors weighed heavily on her decision to hand out the harsh sentences. The judge said Christina “utterly” failed in protecting her children, while Gerrad had not only shown a “lack of remorse” for his actions but had written a letter while in jail, showing he wanted to continue the sexual acts with young children.