Parents of Lacey Fletcher, Woman Who 'Melted' Into Maggot-Infested Couch, Sentenced to 40 Years

The 36-year-old was found dead in her family’s Louisiana home in January 2022 covered in ulcers and feces

Lacey Fletcher
Lacey Fletcher

The mother and father of Lacey Fletcher, the Louisiana woman whose body was found “melted” into a maggot-infested sofa in her family’s home, have been sentenced to prison.

On Wednesday, Sheila and Clay Fletcher were each sentenced to 40 years, though 20 will be suspended. They were ordered to serve five years of supervised probation once their prison stints are over, Baton Rogue’s WAFB 9 reported.

According to The Advocate, there were more than six hours of testimony from 11 different witnesses before the sentence was read at the 20th District Courthouse in Clinton.

Both Sheila and Clay reportedly cried, claiming they could have done more to change the outcome.

"Of all the things I can say about this case, the one thing that keeps coming to mind is that Clay and Sheila Fletcher continually chose the path of least resistance when it came to the care of their daughter," District Judge Kathryn "Betsy" Jones said in the courtroom.

Lacey Fletcher
Lacey Fletcher

Per The Advocate, Lacey’s parents had testified that their daughter refused medical attention. 

The 36-year-old was found dead in her family’s home in Slaughter on Jan. 3, 2022. She’d been under the supervision of her parents, who acted as her caretakers. 

<p>East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office</p> Clay and Sheila Fletcher

East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office

Clay and Sheila Fletcher

Related: Mom Arrested Nearly 2 Years After Her 5-Year-Old Son’s Dead Body Was Found in a Suitcase

On Wednesday, prosecutors argued that due to Lacey’s mental state, she was unable to make the decision to refuse medical treatment. Lacey had been diagnosed with autism and was non-verbal.

<p>Getty</p> empty courtroom with gavel -- stock image


empty courtroom with gavel -- stock image

In court documents obtained by The Advocate at the time, authorities said Lacey’s body was covered in maggots, “ulcers on her underside and fecal matter crushed into her face, chest and abdomen.”

A coroner stated her weight had gotten as low as 96 lbs., and that her bones were visible, reports WAFB 9 and WBRZ-TV.

She’d also reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

A Louisiana coroner ruled that Lacey died from “acute medical neglect” inflicted over a period dating back to at least 2010, The Advocate said.

Sheila and Clay previously pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of manslaughter.

Related: Mother Who Left Toddler Home Alone for 10 Days to Go on Vacation Sentenced to Life Over Her Murder

"We can argue about whether or not this process took three months, six months or three years. I don't really care," Judge Jones said just before announcing their sentence, per The Advocate. "This was a tragedy. The truth is that Lacey laid on a couch and slowly died because she got no medical or mental health care."

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

After sentencing, District Attorney Sam D'Aquilla said he and his team of prosecutors respected the judge’s decision.

"We hope the community receives the message that this type of behavior is not going to be tolerated," D'Aquilla said, reports The Advocate. "Watch out for your friends, talk to your neighbors and make sure this does not happen to anybody else. It's something that could've been prevented."

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.