A Michigan man and his wife will spend the rest of their lives in prison in the death of his 5-year-old daughter who had pneumonia and weighed just 25 pounds when an emergency crew was called to their home last spring.
Andrew and Hilery Maison were sentenced Thursday in St. Clair County Circuit Court, the Times Herald of Port Huron reported. They were convicted in January of first-degree murder, child abuse and torture.
Hilery Maison called 911 on May 26, and responding emergency personnel found her stepdaughter, Mackenzie, unresponsive at their Port Huron home, 60 miles northeast of Detroit. Mackenzie was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Mackenzie's 3-year-old sister, Makayla, who weighed just 17 pounds, was also taken to a hospital where she was treated for dehydration and malnutrition. Makayla has recovered and has doubled her weight since last year.
"It's unfathomable how parents could not only allow that to happen, but to purposefully make that happen," Senior Assistant Prosecutor Mona Armstrong said Thursday.
Michael Boucher, Hilery Maison's attorney, told jurors during the trial that there was no evidence the couple intended for Mackenzie to die. Police said the Maisons attributed the weight loss to picky eating.
Judge Daniel Kelly said somebody should have noticed something before the children became so ill.
"What puzzles me is how, in a community so dedicated to combating child abuse and neglect, these conditions go undetected until it is too late," Kelly said at the sentencing. "Those who saw and chose to do nothing are, in my mind, equally responsible for this crime. They must share the blame."