Calmer weather in store this week

Oklahoma woman formerly named DHS Adoptive Parent of the Year gets prison time in child abuse case

Deidre Matthews

JAY, Okla. – An Oklahoma woman who was formerly named DHS Adoptive Parent of the Year received prison time in connection to a child abuse case.

In 2006, Deidre Matthews, 50, and her former husband, Jerry Matthews, were recognized as Department of Human Services Adoptive Parents of the Year for northeast Oklahoma, the Tulsa World reports.

While the two were married, they reportedly lived with nine children, ages 4 through 17, in an animal feces-infested mobile home in Jay, Oklahoma.

The couple also owned more than 50 animals, including three spider monkeys and 11 lemurs.

According to the Tulsa World, court records show that under the care of Deidre Matthews, the oldest teen was forced to kill her pet kitten by bashing its head into a tree; another child was handcuffed and placed in a dog cage; children were made to stand outside or walk around the house naked; and children were kept home from school to avoid detection of bruises, welts and wounds.

Matthews is also accused of beating the children, allowing pet monkeys to bite the two teen daughters, and withholding food and water as punishment.

Her husband, Jerry, pleaded no contest to two counts of child neglect in 2016. He received a suspend life sentence in exchange for testifying against his former wife.

This week, Deidre Matthews pleaded no contest to 12 counts of child abuse, child neglect and child endangerment.

According to the Tulsa World, Matthews received a life sentence, all but four years of which was suspended.

The local assistant district attorney said Matthews will receive credit for the year she spent in county jail and that she will only have to serve 85 percent of her sentence.