Crime

JBLM soldier convicted of leaving kids home alone sentenced to credit for time served

Staff writerMay 21, 2014 

An Army soldier accused of leaving his preschool-age children home alone in a squalid Lakewood apartment while he went to work was sentenced Wednesday to credit for time served.

Pierce County deputy prosecutor Robert Yu had asked for a high-end sentence of 14 months in state prison for 25-year-old Quintin Dublin, but defense attorney Jason Johnson argued his client was a decorated soldier with no previous criminal history who deserved a break.

Superior Court Judge Vicki Hogan sided with Johnson, sentencing Dublin as a first-time offender and giving him credit for the two months he's spent in jail awaiting sentencing on two counts of second-degree criminal mistreatment.

Hogan also ordered him to attend parenting classes and required that any contact he has with his children be supervised.

Dublin was scheduled to be released from the Pierce County Jail on Wednesday afternoon.

The case against Dublin came to light in November when a maintenance worker checking on a water leak discovered two children, then 3 and 4, home alone in an apartment littered with garbage, dirty diapers, spoiled food and feces, court records show.

He was charged with two counts of second-degree abandonment of a dependent person, second-degree criminal mistreatment and reckless endangerment.

Dublin said he left the kids alone for only a few of his work shifts at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but deputy prosecutors later contended it might have up to 20.

Dublin, who deployed twice to Iraq, chose a bench trial, and Hogan in March convicted him of the two criminal mistreatment counts.

He faced a standard range of 12 to 14 months in prison.

Yu argued in a sentencing memorandum that Dublin deserved the high end.

"The defendant endangered the lives of a 3-year-old and 4-year-old child," the deputy prosecutor wrote. "The defendant left these children home alone for eight hours at a time. The conditions the children were left in included chemical bottles within reach, rotten food, exposed wires, exposed outlets, broken glass, an oven and running water, among other dangers."

Dublin's wife, from whom he's been separated, and his mother-in-law both asked for leniency.

Amber Dublin said her husband is a good man who loves his children dearly. She now has the children in another state.

"I'm not saying what he did was OK," she wrote in a letter to Hogan. "But what I am saying is as parents we make mistakes. Nothing horrible happened to our kids. Our kids are beyond happy; they are alive, breathing and enjoying life."

After being charged, Dublin told a psychologist hired by his defense team that trying to be a single father while maintaining 12-hour shifts was overwhelming, court records show.

Things got worse when his day-care contract was terminated, but he was too proud to ask for help, the records show.

"Then I thought I could handle it," Dublin told the psychologist. "I didn't want to jeopardize my military career for not having a short-term parenting plan."

Psychologist James Manley wrote in his report that Dublin now realizes what he did was wrong, feels terrible about it and wants to work to be a better father.

"It is clear Mr. Dublin made several extremely poor and neglectful childcare decisions," Manley wrote. "They were not malicious in nature, but rather poor, uninformed decisions that ultimately placed his young children in harm's way."

 

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