SALT LAKE CITY — A man charged in connection with the death of a woman living in his home was sent to prison Monday.
Dale Beckering, 53, said little before he was sentenced by 3rd District Judge Robert Faust to one to 15 years in prison for aggravated abuse of a vulnerable adult acting recklessly, a second-degree felony, in the death of 22-year-old Christina Harms.
"As much as I deeply regret what happened ... I can't make a statement at this time because I've instructed my attorney to appeal this case."
Beckering was found guilty by a jury in November.
He was originally charged with a first-degree felony, which could have carried a potential sentence of life in prison.
The 22-year-old woman's body was found March 25, 2011, in the living room of the Kearns home she shared with Beckering, his wife, Sherrie, stepdaughter, Cassandra Shepard, and a number of children.
Harms' hands and arms were bound with ace bandages and there was a pepper seed in her eye. Bruises spanned her side and leg. When police arrived at the home, Harms' body was just feet from the closet where she was apparently housed and sometimes bound, crucifixion-style.
Sherrie Beckering and Shepard are each facing a first-degree felony charge of aggravated abuse of a vulnerable adult, but Shepard is also charged with murder, a first-degree felony, and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.
Harms suffered from fetal-alcohol syndrome, and witnesses said she functioned at the level of a young teenager.
Defense attorney Rudy Bautista was adamant that his client worked long hours, lived in the basement and avoided Harms as she once accused him of rape and, as such, did not know the extent of the abuse. Prosecutor Chad Platt said the man had to have known and had a duty to protect Harms from the "severe, extensive abuse."