BOISE -- Before she was sentenced on Friday, Melissa Jenkins made a tearful apology directly to Robert Manwill's father for not protecting their son.

Jenkins was sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole for aiding and abetting second-degree murder for not doing something to stop the abuse of Robert, who died in July of 2009.

Jenkins sentence comes as part of a plea agreement. Prosecutors could ask for up to 25 years without the possibility of early release. They got what they asked for, but the judge said she deserved more punishment than the agreement allowed.

You deserve the worst of punishments for what you allowed to happen to Robert, Judge Darla Williamson said. Bottom line is I'd like to impose a greater sentence than 25, but I can't.

Robert's father, Charles Manwill, addressed Williamson in court during Jenkins' sentencing. He said he believed the court would give Robert justice, and added that he feels disbelief about what Jenkins did.

The heinous nature of this crime and the fact that a biological parent could allow this to happen to their child whether she actively participated or not is beyond human comprehension, Charles Manwill said.

Charles Manwill's wife, Afton Manwill, who is Robert's stepmother and helped raise him, also spoke to the judge in court. She explained that Jenkins could have made one phone call to them, and they would have brought Robert home. She explained Robert stayed with his mom because he really loved her.

There were so many people around here that would have helped. All [Jenkins] would have had to do is say one word to them, Afton Manwill said. The love that Robert felt for his mom killed him, but she couldn't take 10 seconds to get him out of a situation that he was obviously in a bad way. She didn't have the courage to say anything.

Prosecutors presented several witnesses who said they saw Jenkins physically harm Robert, including biting his arm and hitting him in the face.

Just before the judge announced her sentencing decision, Jenkins stood and read a statement directly to Charles Manwill.

I know that all I had to do was to ask for help. It's my fault that Robert's not with us. Robert would be with us now if I'd call you [Charles Manwill], and I know that. I'm guilty. You're the best dad Robert could ever have had. I should have asked for you to help. I want to go back but I can't, Jenkins said.

Charles Manwill did not make eye contact with Jenkins and looked straight ahead as she spoke.

I do not deserve your forgiveness, but I ask one day that you will. I'm going to prison where I belong, and I hope one day Robert and you can forgive me, Jenkins said

Judge Williamson told Jenkins she failed Robert, saying everyone knows she could have prevented Robert's death. Williamson also told her she didn't believe Jenkins when she cried in court or apologized.

I'm not buying it that you have all that remorse. I'm not buying it that you're all that sad about this and that apology you're making Mr. Manwill and the fact that you appeared to be crying the courtroom. I just don't think that's sincere. You know, I just don't think that you care, Williamson said.

Before Jenkins' sentencing, her former boyfriend Daniel Ehrlick was sentenced for first-degree murder and failure to report a death. The judge sentenced him to life without parole.

Read or Share this story: