Details of beatings recounted in Vancouver child abuse trial

Details of beatings recounted in Vancouver child abuse trial

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Details of how a Vancouver couple physically abused their children were on display Wednesday in Clark County Superior Court.

Some of the children were forced to live in a filthy bedroom. Some were hit with a bicycle lock. And one of the children was spanked with what he called the “ultimate belt,” Doctor Kimberly Copeland testified Wednesday.

“He said there was spanking with what he called ‘the ultimate belt,’” Copeland said. “I wasn’t familiar with that and asked him what that was, and he said it was a belt with metal pieces shaped like animals that stuck out from the belt.”

Copeland's testimony came on the third day of the trial of Jeff and Sandra Weller in Clark County Superior Court. The defense is expected to begin calling witnesses on Thursday.

While there are allegations the Wellers abused a total of five children, the focus of the trial is the Wellers’ treatment of their adopted twins whom prosecutors said were locked in a room without food for years.

The twins took the stand to testify they received the worst of the beatings. They called it “getting the board.”

“Sometimes we would try, like blocking it, but most of the time we just ended up hurting our arms, too,” one of the twins testified.

In cross-examination, the defense pointed out that the twins weren’t always kept in the room and often did family activities.

“In the summer, we would go to Cannon Beach,” one of the twins testified. “In the winter, we would go see the zoo lights at the Oregon Zoo.”

The twins also did not have electricity in their rooms. But, on cross-examination, one of the twins admitted that was because she and her twin had short-circuited the power with a coat hanger.

One of the Wellers' other children is expected to take the stand Thursday before the prosecution rests its case.