Cobb pair gets prison for locking 6 women in basement

An uncle and niece who ran an unlicensed care home and forced six women to live in a basement without adequate plumbing will spend 10 years in prison, the Cobb County District Attorney’s office said.

Terry Catron, 56, of Cartersville, pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to various charges, including racketeering, theft, deprivation, false imprisonment and false statements for his role in the crimes at a Marietta home, DA Vic Reynolds said. Catron was the fourth person to be sentenced in the case. Raequel Alita Penny, who operated the home, pleaded guilty to the same charges in July.

According to investigators, six women were kept in the basement of a Laurel Springs Lane home for various lengths of time in 2013. Victims told investigators that Penny and Catron, the primary daytime caregiver in the home, provided inadequate food, shelter and medicine, and had denied them access to adequate toiletry facilities. Plywood was used to partition the basement into “rooms” as small as 11 feet by 5 feet, DA Vic Reynolds’ office said.

The victims were later taken to an unlicensed care home in Atlanta, where police found them.

“Those six women came to Ms. Penny and Mr. Catron with real need. They needed someone to take care of them. Instead, they were exploited and abused,” Jason Marbutt, assistant district attorney, said in an emailed statement.

Penny and Catron lived in the upstairs of the home when they were arrested in September 2013 after they denied entry to state employees during an attempted inspection.

“Ms. Penny and Mr. Catron lived upstairs in well-lit and spacious accommodations, while the six victims were forced to share cramped quarters in a dark basement with a bathroom that had sheets for walls and a toilet affixed to a concrete floor,” Marbutt said.

Superior Court Judge C. LaTain Kell sentenced Catron to 20 years, with 10 years to serve in prison and the rest on probation, the DA’s office said. Penny was also sentenced to 20 years, with 10 years to serve in prison.

Two other defendants, Bilal Penny and Elijah Cole, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in the case and were given probation.

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