INDEPENDENCE, MO. A Grain Valley couple held hands in the courtroom and stood quietly Wednesday as a judge sentenced them to probation for an elaborate hoax about giving birth to sextuplets they used to wrangle money out of the community.
Sarah Everson, 45, and Kris Everson, 35, also left the courthouse holding hands, not offering immediate comment, but glancing at each other often.
Every now and then Sarah Everson giggled as reporters and cameramen stumbled alongside them.
"We have no comment," Kris Everson said as reporters asked them why they came up with the idea of giving birth to six sick babies and whether they were sorry.
As the cameras and most reporters left, the Eversons talked a little.
"We already made our apologies," Sarah Everson told The Associated Press.
The Eversons on Wednesday pleaded guilty to one count of felony stealing by deceit. Jackson County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Bushur sentenced them each to four years probation. They were also ordered to repay $3,661.25 to their victims and perform 40 hours of community service.
Assistant Jackson County prosecutor Tammy Dickinson said she was satisfied with the plea agreement, which allowed the couple to avoid prison time. The Eversons each faced up to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted.
Community leaders in Grain Valley said the Eversons came to them in March, saying they had delivered six critically ill babies and needed help. The couple claimed the births were being kept secret by a court order because a family member was out to kill them.
Within days of the story appearing on the front of the local paper here, The Examiner, the couple were barraged by questions from the media and ultimately admitted to reporters and police that the entire thing was a lie. They said they needed the cash.
Sarah Everson said the couple had been kicked out of their Grain Valley home recently and were living in the broken truck.