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30-year sentence upheld for Westminster couple in neglect case; 2 children were nonverbal, locked in squalor

Paul and Melissa Trapani
Paul and Melissa Trapani (Courtesy photo)

After a Westminster couple requested a reduction in the 30-year sentences assigned to them for child neglect, three-judge panels chose to uphold the original sentences.

Thomas Stansfield handed down the 30-year sentences — five years for each of the six children in the neglect case — on Aug. 1.

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Paul Trapani appeared before a three-judge panel March 22 and Melissa Trapani appeared before a three-judge panel March 28 to request a review of that sentence. The panels returned a written decision Thursday, according to a news release from the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Paul and Melissa Trapani, who were each sentenced to 30 years incarceration last August on counts of child neglect, will have their sentences reviewed by a three-judge panel in the Carroll County Circuit Court.

The case has been in the legal system since Nov. 7, 2014, when the Trapanis’ children were removed from their Westminster home. Paul and Melissa Trapani are married.

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Prosecutors presented evidence of the condition of the home in both the initial sentencing hearing and the review hearings.

The two youngest children were locked in a room with wooden bars nailed to the top half of the doorway, resembling a cage. There was evidence that Melissa Trapani planned the construction of the door and Paul Trapani built it, prosecutors said.

The children lived in conditions littered with trash and filth alongside nine dogs that were also located inside the home.

The inside of the room where the two children — ages 5 and 7 when they were taken from the home — were confined was covered in human feces. The children were non-verbal and did not respond to their own names, according to the statement.

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Paul and Melissa Trapani received the maximum sentence for six counts of neglect of a minor in Carroll County Circuit Court on Thursday, Aug 2.

Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo said in the news release, “We are pleased that three other judges agreed with the sentences imposed by Judge Thomas F. Stansfield. Certainly, the facts and circumstances of the defendants’ crimes warranted the maximum sentence. We hope that these children are now able to overcome this severe neglect and live safe and productive lives.”

“The investigation and prosecution of this case was the combined effort by the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Department of Social Services, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, the Maryland State Police and Carroll Hospital Center,” according to the release.

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