Judge sentences game playing couple


RENO, Nev. -- A Reno couple who played video games while their two children went hungry and neglected have been sentenced to four years each in prison.

Michael Straw, 25, and 23-year-old Iana Straw lost themselves in a virtual world of monster-slaying missions in "Dungeons and Dragons" while their children suffered starvation and sickness, investigators said. Both pleaded guilty to two counts of child neglect and were sentenced on Tuesday by Washoe District Judge Steven Elliott.

Prosecutor Kelli Anne Viloria said that instead of providing health care or food for their children, the couple spent a $50,000 inheritance on a large plasma screen television and computer equipment.

"They had food, they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games," she said.

Their daughter weighed 6 pounds at birth and only 10 pounds less than a year later when police arrived. She could not lift her head or sit up because she had no muscle development. Her hair was matted with cat urine and was so dehydrated she could neither cry nor urinate, Viloria said.

Their son, at 22 months, lacked muscle mass, could not walk and was developmentally delayed when police arrested the couple, the prosecutor said.

The girl has gained six pounds and the boy gained three and both are thriving in foster care, Viloria said.

According to court records, Michael Straw said he was an unemployed cashier while his wife worked for a temporary staffing agency doing warehouse work.

The couple would be eligible for parole in a year.