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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Parents Get 4 Years in Boy's Death

FLEMINGTON, New Jersey -- The U.S. adoptive parents of a Russian boy each were sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for causing his death more than six years ago.

Robert and Brenda Matthey allowed Viktor, 7, to die of hypothermia-induced cardiac arrest by locking him in an unheated basement room overnight in October 2000.

Under an agreement reached in April with prosecutors, the Mattheys each pleaded guilty to a single charge of reckless manslaughter, and prosecutors agreed to recommend the four-year prison terms. With prison time already served, they could be eligible for parole in December.

During their trial in 2004, the Mattheys said they sometimes left Viktor in the room as a punishment, but never overnight. They said his sudden drop in temperature was from a rare nutritional disorder. In addition to Viktor, the couple adopted twin brothers from Russia.