Fumigators sent to prison for boy's poisoning

Posted at 8:11 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 20:11:12-04

A federal judge has ordered the maximum sentence for two Sunland Pest Control employees connected to the poisoning of 10-year-old Peyton McCaughey.

The decision marks the end of a case that started last August after the McCaughey's hired Terminix to treat their Palm City home for termites.

Terminix then sub-contracted Sunland Pest Control to do the job. Sunland has sinse been stripped of it's license by the state of Florida and put out of business.

Thursday morning in Fort Pierce, Sunland's owner, Grenale Williams, and employee, Canarie Curry, appeared in front of US District Court Judge Jose Martinez. Martinez sentenced both men to 12 months in federal prison for misusing the deadly gas sulfuryl flouride. The crime left 10 year old Peyton with severe brain damage.

"He's quite emotional about the whole situation. The fact that he's going to spend the next year in federal prison that's certainly impactful," said Craig Lawson the attorney for Williams and Sunland Pest control.

The one year sentence is the max Judge Martinez could hand out under a plea deal offered to both defendants by the U.S District Attorney's office. Williams and Currie originally faced up to five years for two misdemeanor charges. In the agreement each man pleaded guilty to one count for using a  pesticide incorrectly.     

Martinez ordered the maximum sentence despite pleas from Williams and his wife .

"We pray every morning for (Peyton's) speedy recovery. I'm asking you to be lenient on my husband. He cries every morning and every night for this little boy," Mrs. Williams said.

But Judge Martinez responded swiftly.

"The plea agreement is the only reason you're only getting a year. You've gotten you're leniency," Martinez said.

Attorneys for Williams and Curry also requested that both men be allowed to leave the courthouse with their families Thursday and turn themselves in on June 1. That request was denied and both men were immediately taken into custody.

In addition to a year in federal prison both men will have a year of supervised release. If they ever want to get back into pest control again they'll have to wait at least 5 years and attend a one week class annually.

The McCaughey family can't comment on the criminal case because of an ongoing civil case. The McCaugheys have said they forgive both Williams and Curry.