Gustus Andrew Glen Pennington, 27, was handed six life sentences earlier this week by a court in Rogers County, Oklahoma, after being convicted on charges of kidnapping, domestic assault and battery with a deadly weapon, child abuse, and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. The sentences will be served consecutively.
The underlying incident was brutal and horrific for the young victim.
In 2020, Jeannette Wilson, 28, reported that Pennington had abused her daughter for around six days straight by using a belt, a board, and a shock collar, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by Tulsa-based NBC affiliate KJRH.
What began as an attempt at what Pennington claimed was discipline, the girl’s mother told police, grew progressively worse as the days went by, the court document said. The child was restrained to a table and beaten. Then the defendant purchased the shock collar – using it so often over two days that the device ran out of battery, authorities said.
When investigators searched the residence, they discovered a camera in the bedroom where the torture-like child abuse occurred. On the video footage, law enforcement noted, the girl was sometimes forced to hold up a sign that read: “I am a liar.”
When the child went to the bathroom, she was forced to use a cinder block, according to court documents obtained by Tulsa-based Fox affiliate KOKI. Pennington beat the girl with a piece of wood and forced her to stand in cold showers for extended periods.
The victim was described as “emotionless and covered with bruises, cuts and burn marks” when deputies first found her, KOKI reported.
The girl’s mother initially reported the abuse to police in Collinsville, Oklahoma, the Fox affiliate reported – saying that she and her daughter had escaped from an abuser and kidnapper. But law enforcement quickly came to view her as a suspect and later discovered that she had also taken part in the abuse of the girl.
Also recently tried, Wilson received one life sentence for her crimes – five counts of child abuse and one count of child neglect, prison records show.
Pennington’s trial was delayed because he tried to claim status as a member of the Creek Indian Tribe. Under a recent Supreme Court ruling, crimes involving Native Americans can only be prosecuted in federal or tribal courts if the underlying incidents occurred on a reservation.
That effort ultimately went nowhere.
“Having had ample opportunity to obtain Tribal membership with the Creek Nation after having attained majority age, the Defendant failed to do so for six years,” a court ruling obtained by The Claremore Daily Progress notes. “Not until these charges were brought and after McGirt, did the Defendant apply for membership. Even then, it was his mother who actually filed the Application on behalf of the Defendant.”
Local law enforcement also mused about Pennington’s far-right political leanings – which the court also considered.
“He had a Nazi tattoo,” Rogers County District Attorney Matt Ballard told the paper. “He had some beliefs that were not consistent with being an Indian or claiming Indian status. He had a fascination with Nazi history. He had a journal with swastikas and part of Mein Kampf in it.”
Each defendant also received an additional 10-year sentence on one count of conspiracy. Pennington was sentenced on May 10; Wilson was sentenced on April 28.
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