The photographs tell the story.
Heaps of trash – some in bags, some not – litter the yard and carport.
A child’s colorful boot rests on the floor amid discarded food wrappers and debris.
Toothpaste and toothbrushes sit on a filthy vanity – one of its doors warped and open.
Piles of clothes cover the bed and floor.
Little human hands and feet are encrusted with dirt; a bruise and whelp crosses one girl’s back.
Part of a local criminal case, the photos and other evidence were used on Oct. 31 to convict a Barren Springs man of nine felonies for subjecting his four children to the squalor and abuse.
Although he pleaded not guilty, 38-year-old Curtis Ray Spurlock was convicted of nine child endangerment charges after his Wythe County Circuit Court hearing before Judge Josiah Showalter.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Jones said Spurlock was arrested in February after social services and police began investigating the conditions at the Crawford Road singlewide trailer that Spurlock shared with his four children ranging in age from 4 to 9.
“There was an overwhelming smell of urine and what they thought was animal feces,” Jones said.
“When Investigators arrived at the home they found the living conditions to be deplorable,” added Maj. Anthony Cline of the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office. “There were piles of garbage and refuse laying outside and inside the residence. Dog feces was found throughout the residence along with uneaten food and trash in almost every room.”
Photographs also depicted a dirty kitchen and a butcher knife on the front steps next to a baby doll.
Jones said one of Spurlock’s daughters was hit and bruised with a belt and Spurlock shaved two of his daughters’ heads to get rid of lice. One evidence photo shows a pile of human hair inside a bucket.
Unemployed at the time of his arrest, Spurlock was receiving $411 in welfare benefits and $647 a month in food stamps, according to court documents.
Jones said Spurlock “showed a complete lack of remorse” or an understanding of the situation in which he’d placed his children, all of whom were removed from the residence after his arrest.
Free on an $8,000 bond, Spurlock, who has a prior drug distribution conviction, will be sentenced on Jan. 29, 2020, after the probation office prepares a report to help the judge decide Spurlock’s punishment.
He faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison.
Jeffrey Simmons can be reached at 228-6611, extension 19, or firstname.lastname@example.org.