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Ronika Bell was sentenced Monday in a Mecklenburg County court after she pleaded guilty to starving her children. She was sentenced to five years in prison.
Police said Bell's children were forced to stay inside a bedroom in her east Charlotte home, with no access to food, and that they were beaten when they asked to eat.
According to warrants, the 10-year-old child told investigators that there was a lot of food in the house.
The warrants describe refrigerators, freezers and cabinets "full of cans of vegetables, beans, snacks, Pop-Tarts, crackers, cookies, as well as cans of Manwich."
The children also told investigators that if they did have a meal, it would be cereal with water.
In court, Bell was apologetic. She told the judge she accepted responsibility for her actions and later started to cry.
"I thought the plea agreement was a just result to honor what happened to the victims as well as save them from the experience of the trial," Assistant District Attorney Terra Varnes said.
According to Varnes, Bell's plea deal benefits the children most because they won't be forced to testify or sit through a long trial.
"Especially for younger children, the courtroom is big. It can make them feel (scared) and it can make them feel sad just to go through that stress," she said.
Police said the children were starved, beaten and emotionally destroyed. Varnes said the children are starting a new life in Florida with their father.
Deron Cuthbertson pleaded guilty to four counts of misdemeanor child abuse.
The judge gave Cuthbertson a chance to earn dismissals if he successfully completes 18 months of supervised probation including 100 hours of community service.