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Crime & Courts

Michigan man gets probation in death of 360-pound wife

A Detroit-area man who authorities say allowed his 360-pound wife to fester and die in a bed surrounded by her own waste avoided prison Wednesday when a judge sentenced him to probation.

Michael Brooks pleaded guilty in January to a felony charge of abuse of a vulnerable adult. His wife, Yolanda Reese-Brooks, died of morbid obesity and other injuries in October.

Macomb County Circuit Judge Peter Maceroni ordered Brooks to serve two years' probation and undergo a psychological evaluation as well as random drug testing. Prosecutors say guidelines called for a 10- to 23-month prison sentence. Maceroni pointed out that Brooks had no prior record and was involved with his wife for more than two decades.

"To incarcerate this individual would not make any sense whatsoever," Maceroni said.

Prosecutors say Brooks was his 40-year-old wife's primary caretaker after a 2011 auto crash crushed her pelvis and ruptured her bladder. An emergency crew wearing protective gear removed her from an apartment in Warren.

Brooks, 38, didn't speak during or after his sentencing. Defense attorney David Draper has said it was overwhelming for his client to care for his wife and children.

The four children are being cared for by Brooks' sister, but he has been working with the state's Department of Human Services to regain custody.

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