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Kuna couple found guilty in child starvation case

Byron and Gwendalyn Buthman are scheduled to be sentenced in September for injury to a child.
Credit: Ada County Jail
Byron and Gwendalyn Buthman

BOISE, Idaho — A couple accused of starving a 7-year-old girl to the point of cardiac arrest have been found guilty of injury to a child, with infliction of great bodily injury.

An Ada County jury on Thursday convicted Byron Buthman, 57, and Gwendalyn Buthman, 45, of three counts: felony injury to a child, a felony enhancement for infliction of great bodily injury, and a misdemeanor count of injury to a child.

The Buthmans were arrested in March 2019 and indicted by a grand jury. That indictment alleged the couple only allowed the girl vegetable protein for food, forced her to sleep in a laundry room and isolated her from her siblings while she was between the ages of 3 and 6. Prosecutors say the child experienced starvation because of the nutritional neglect, and that she went into cardiac arrest after she was forced to stay outside in the cold without proper clothing as a punishment. The girl survived.

Fourth District Judge Darla Williamson presided over the Buthmans' trial, which took place in June 2022. The trial had originally been scheduled for September 2019. Online court records indicate multiple postponements and reassignments of judges during the 33 months between the 2019 date and the trial that ended with Thursday's verdicts.

Byron and Gwendalyn Buthman are both scheduled to be sentenced at 1 p.m. on Sept. 19, 2022. Felony injury to a child is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. However, the enhancement for infliction of great bodily injury extends the maximum possible sentence by 20 years.

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