After scolding Stanley Rimer for more than 30 minutes about his failings as a father, District Judge Douglas Herndon on Tuesday sentenced him to eight to 30 years in prison in the death of his 4-year-old disabled son.
Rimer and his wife, Colleen, were convicted March 1 after a two-week trial on charges that included involuntary manslaughter. Jason Rimer died after being left in a hot SUV for 17 hours in 2008.
The parents also were convicted of child abuse and neglect for physically abusing five of their eight children and letting them live in squalor.
"When the hell were you going to check on him?" Herndon asked Stanley Rimer during the hourlong sentencing hearing.
Herndon admonished the 54-year-old for blaming his wife, hiding in the master bedroom and not helping with parental responsibilities.
Stanley Rimer has maintained since his son's death that he was unaware Jason was in the vehicle. He said he was ill that day and left church before his family, spending the rest of the day in his bedroom. Colleen Rimer told Las Vegas police that she was solely responsible for the disabled boy.
On Tuesday, Stanley Rimer told the judge that he took responsibility, but "I thought my son was being taken care of by my wife, which is reasonable."
He also thanked the "millions of people" around the country and the world who have prayed for him and his family.
Rimer said that he knew the Lord had a hand in what happened and that if any good were to come of his case, it would be that people would see that he and his wife stuck together.
"I know that I'm a good person and I have a good heart," he said before asking the judge to sentence him to probation.
But Herndon would have none of it.
At one point he yelled at Rimer. At other times the judge's voice cracked with emotion.
Herndon said that what bothered him most was that Rimer was not sorry for what had happened.
"You feel like it was all on your wife," Herndon said.
The judge pointed out that not once on the day Jason died did the father leave the master bedroom to check on any of his children -- not during dinner or bath time, not to tuck the children into bed.
"He was dead before dinner," Herndon said of the boy.
In a letter to the court read aloud by the judge, Stanley Rimer's estranged son from a previous marriage, Ernest Rimer, wrote that Stanley and Colleen Rimer "simply let the kids exist like dogs in a kennel."
Ernest Rimer said Colleen Rimer deserved leniency because she also was a victim of his overbearing father.
"My father deserves everything coming to him," Ernest Rimer wrote.
Herndon also chided Stanley Rimer for wanting to start a foundation in memory of his son.
"I don't know if he wanted you to start a foundation. Jason wanted you to go find him," the judge said.
Herndon did not give Stanley Rimer the maximum sentence allowed under the law, which is up to 45 years in prison.
Prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo said afterward that he felt the sentence was fair. DiGiacomo had asked for the maximum sentence, stating that "these children lived a horrendous life ... and this man was responsible."
Deputy Public Defender Tim O'Brien had asked the judge to find it in his heart to give Stanley Rimer probation, but if not, then to sentence him to a year in jail.
O'Brien said that Stanley Rimer had himself been abused as a child and that what happened in the Rimer home was not the worst of the abuse cases the courts have seen.
"This was not a house of horrors," O'Brien said.
O'Brien also pointed out the years of volunteer work Stanley Rimer had performed in the community through his church and said that he had no prior convictions and posed no threat to the community.
During the hearing, one of the Rimer children, Quaylyn, asked through his father's defense team whether he could hug his father. Herndon denied the request, stating it was against security policies.
O'Brien said during the hearing that the case is being appealed.
Jason was left in a Ford Excursion about 2 p.m. on June 8, 2008, after returning home from church with his mother and several siblings.
The boy suffered from myotonic dystrophy, a genetic muscular disorder that crippled his body and mind. He was unable to unlock car doors.
Jason died from heat stress, which could have taken three to five hours in the estimated 130-degree temperature in the car.
Four Rimer children testified during the trial that the family home was filthy and cluttered. The children had a constant lice infestation and said their father hit them with boat oars as punishment.
Colleen Rimer's sentencing was continued until July 21 because a pre-sentencing report was not complete.
Stanley Rimer's attorneys tried to move his sentencing to July also, but Herndon denied the request.
Colleen Rimer remains in custody at the Clark County Detention Center.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.