The final of five former workers at the Beatrice State Developmental Center convicted of abusing patients there has been sentenced to at least nine years in prison.
Gage County District Judge Paul Korslund pronounced sentence on Matthew Pangborn, who pleaded no contest last month to charges that he abused and strangled three residents in 2011.
“Abuse of the most vulnerable by those most responsible for their care cannot be tolerated,” Korslund told Pangborn during sentencing in the Beatrice courtroom today.
Korslund sentenced Pangborn to 9 years and four months to 15 years in prison.
As part of the plea bargain, four additional charges against Pangborn were dropped.
This was the second sentencing Pangborn had faced after being convicted of abusing those under his care at BSDC. In October of 2012, Pangborn received a sentence of 15 to 23 years in prison. The Nebraska Supreme Court threw out that sentence and ordered a new trial in Gage County District Court.
Panbron’s attorney Brett McArthur argued his client should receive a prison sentence no longer than those handed down to four other former BSDC workers convicted of abusing residents.
“I think what the state is seeking in terms of a sentence would be vastly greater and vastly disproportionate to what the co-defendants in this case received,” McArthur told the court.
Four others were convicted in the BSDC abuse case. Cameron Barnes received a prison sentence of two to four years, Matthew Johnson received a prison sentence of one to four years, Cody Creek was sentenced to eight months in jail, and Carmen Yates got a six month jail sentence.
Gage County Attorney Roger Harris argued in favor of a harsh sentence, stating he had to speak for the victims, who could not addressed the court themselves due to their developmental disabilities.
“But there was clearly evidence indicating that they felt the pain,” Harris told the court. “One individual curled up in a ball after he had been struck on the head by the defendant.”
Pangborn was convicted of abusing and strangling three residents between May and August of 2011.
Doug Kennedy, KWBE, contributed to this article.
AUDIO: Gage County District Judge Paul Korslund pronounces sentence on Matthew Pangborn. [:35]