A mother and ex-Army sergeant who confessed to recording herself performing sex acts on her 3-year-old son, and sending the explicit images to her former ex-Army boyfriend, has been sentenced to 28 years in federal prison.
The mother, Kimberly Epperson, had accepted a plea deal that could have seen her spending up-to 30 years in prison for one count of producing child pornography and sending the related pictures and videos to her ex-boyfriend, former Army sergeant Wade Allen Perkins, 26, according to a My San Antonio report.
Perkins was sentenced to the maximum penalty allowed under the plea deal in October, according to the report, but Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery made it clear that he didn't think the sentence was long enough for what the two did to the toddler.
"Instead of doing what you should have done (as a mother), you provide this sacrificial lamb of your son," Biery told Epperson moments before he sentenced her two Fridays ago. "Because of your own needs, you were willing to make a sacrifice of your son."
Biery told Epperson that what she had effectively "sentenced him (her son) to life," explaining that the boy would have 70 years or more to remember and relive the abuses.
The couple, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Thompson, had "used this little boy multiple times" over an eight-week period. Thompson wanted the maximum sentence for Epperson, but her defense attorney Joseph Esparza, argued that she had been manipulated and coerced by her boyfriend.
The FBI began investigating the couple in August 2012 when Epperson, who was then pregnant with Perkins' daughter, went to an adoption agency and told them she wanted to give up the child because she didn't want Perkins to abuse her as he had done to her son.
A journal kept by the foster parents of Epperson's son also revealed the boy had made several telling outcries including things like, the "sweaty bad man" had "hurt his tushie." The information in the journal was confirmed by Epperson, who later described the assaults in detail.
When Esparza asked FBI Special Agent Jeff Allovio before the sentencing if he thought Epperson derived pleasure from hurting her son, he said, "Certainly not the same way Wade Perkins did." He added that Perkins was "the driving force behind this."