An Iowa man learned late last week that he will likely spend the next 30 years of his life in prison for the role he played in the 2016 starvation death of his 16-year-old adopted daughter, Natalie Finn, who was just 81 lbs. when she died.
Video from the sentencing of Joseph Finn II was posted online, and shows the 47-year-old man pleading for leniency by claiming he was under the spell of his manipulative ex-wife, 43-year-old Nicole Finn, who was sentenced in January to three life terms.
At the time of the abuse, Finn was not living in the home. But, reading from a prepared statement in court, he said, “I failed my children as a parent when they needed me the most. And I have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
Nicole Finn was convicted in December of murder and kidnapping — charges stemming from Natalie’s Oct. 24, 2016, death from cardiac arrest. The mother-of-five was also convicted on two counts of kidnapping for confining two other teenagers she had adopted.
She has announced her plans to appeal.
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Natalie stopped walking days before her death, and was found in a soiled adult diaper. Her body had many bedsores. Authorities say she was deprived food, and confined to a bedroom in ther West Des Moines home with no furniture, along with her two adoptive siblings. The linoleum floor of her room was covered in human waste.
Joseph Finn II allegedly told police after his arrest that he had helped nail shut a window in the bedroom after Natalie’s two siblings snuck out to beg for food at a nearby convenience store.
In March, Finn pleaded guilty to three counts of assault while participating in a felony causing serious injury — one for each of his adopted children, whom he’s accused of abusing between between Dec. 1, 2015, and Oct. 25, 2016.
The children were deprived adequate food and water, causing them serious injury — and in Natalie’s case, death.
“I accept any and all punishment that the court is going to levy here today,” Joseph Finn said before his sentencing. “I know I did wrong and I can’t take that back.”
Judge: ‘I Think You’re Wallowing in Self-Pity’
District Court Judge Robert Hanson scolded Finn at the hearing, agreeing with prosecutors that, while the abuse occurred when the children lived with his ex-wife, he never stopped being their father, and could have done something to stop the mistreatment.
“I think you’re wallowing in self-pity. I think you’re a bit of a manipulator yourself, consciously or subconsciously,” Hanson told Finn, saying he did not believe Finn has accepted responsibility for what happened to the children.
“You didn’t treat these kids as your children,” Hanson said. “No parent would treat their children this way. You treated them as prisoners.”
Joseph Finn’s attorney could not be reached for comment. It was unclear if he plans to appeal his sentence.