A man accused of a handcuffing an 11-year-old boy to a front porch with a dead chicken tied around his neck turned down a plea deal in Union County court on Monday.
Dorian Lee Harper is facing felony charges of child abuse, false imprisonment and maiming. The trial proceeded after Harper rejected the deal. Attorneys began selecting jurors on Monday.
The district attorney’s deal for Harper would have consolidated charges and would have meant less time in prison. In court, the judge told Harper his maximum sentence under the deal would be about six to 10 years in prison.
Without the deal, Harper faces 12 to 21 years if found guilty of the misdemeanor charges.
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“You may have heard the plea deal was discussed three times last week. I think that’s on the record. It was conferred and discussed a great deal by all the parties,” Harper’s attorney, Randolph Lee, told reporters outside the courthouse.
“My client has exercised his constitutional rights for a jury trial. We’ll see where it goes,” Lee said.
In November 2013, the Union County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy was responding to an animal service complaint at a home on Austin Road and saw the child on the porch. Reports say the boy was found with a dead chicken tied around his neck.
The boy’s ankles were reportedly held to the front porch by handcuffs, and he appeared to be shivering.
After the deputy arrived, Harper came to the porch with another child and released several large dogs on the deputy, according to reports.
Officials believe Harper tied the dead chicken around the boy’s neck as punishment for killing one of the chickens on the family’s farm.
Five children were removed from the home.
Four of the children had been adopted by Harper and Wanda Sue Larson. The 11-year-old found on the porch was their foster child.
Larson was not home when the deputies arrived because she was at work as a supervisor for the Union County Department of Social Services. She was soon fired and charged with willful failure to discharge her duty as a public figure.