A Burbank couple have pleaded guilty to charges of torturing their 12-year-old daughter for at least two years, beating her and feeding her table scraps.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Janice Croft sentenced Marcus Allan, 44, to 17 years and four months in state prison.
His wife, Erlinda Reyes Allan, 39, is expected to be sentenced to 23 years at a hearing Oct. 30.
During jury selection Monday afternoon, the two agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. The couple, charged with one count each of torture, child abuse and corporal injury to a child, could have faced life sentences on the torture count alone.
The couple's decision to plead guilty was a victory for the girl, prosecutors said, because it spared her from having to testify against her parents.
"She testified at a preliminary hearing, and it was very traumatic and painful," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Cynthia Nakao.
In December 2000, the parents told police officers responding to a report of child abuse that the girl was living in her mother's native Philippines.
Police were suspicious and began to question residents of the working-class neighborhood near Burbank Airport. An ice cream truck driver told police that she had seen a girl with a split lip earlier in the day.
Officers found the girl--who appeared to be 7 or 8 years old--bruised and malnourished, hiding near her home.
The parents were arrested and the child was taken into custody by the county Department of Children and Family Services.