PRESCOTT - Jaccob Billiter, who last year failed to appear in court for his change of plea and sentencing in a child abuse case, was Monday sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison.
Billiter, 35, was indicted on five counts of aggravated assault and two counts of child abuse involving four- and six-year-old children.
Billiter had been living with his 23-year-old girlfriend in a camper in the 24000 block of North Highway 89 in Paulden, where deputies were called on July 10, 2012.
The six-year-old was found with a "significant injury to his head and dried blood on his face," YCSO spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said. Deputies were told he had been held upside-down while being whipped with a hose as punishment for drinking out of the irrigation system. He had welts on his back from the hose, and the head injury apparently happened as a result of the child being dropped head-first, D'Evelyn said.
In March 2013, a proposed plea agreement was rejected by a judge as "too lenient." Billiter's attorney requested a new judge and the case was assigned to Judge Tina Ainley.
Because he didn't show up for court the first time, a new charge of first-degree failure to appear was added on.
The plea agreement Billiter accepted included that charge plus aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument per domestic violence and child abuse per domestic violence.
"I just take responsibility for everything that happened," he told Ainley on Monday. "I want to apologize to everyone involved."
Ainley imposed four years in prison, with credit for 384 days already served.
For the failure to appear charge, she said, "I can't find a basis why I should run that concurrently," and added 1.5 years to the sentence.
She also gave Billiter lifetime probation after his release.
"I don't know if circumstances got away from you or if this was an anger control issue," Ainley told him, but she said she hopes he will work through it while he's imprisoned.