The father of a 12-year-old boy who was found malnourished accepted a plea deal on Friday for child abuse charges.
Michael Marshall and his girlfriend, Sharon Glass, were both arrested in March of 2012 after Titusville officials received a tip about the boy. When he was taken from the home, the boy weighed only 40 pounds and stood just 4 feet, 4 inches. According to the Mayo clinic, a boy this child's age would normally weigh around 75 to 100 pounds and stand about 5 feet tall.
The boy told jurors when he was punished, he was locked in a bathroom for days, if not weeks, at a time. Pictures reveal the bathroom window was boarded up and the doorknob lock was reversed. Desperate for food, the boy told jurors he ate toothpaste to stay alive.
In prior testimony, he said the parents gave him a stocking filled with coal for Christmas.
Marshall appeared to repeatedly shake his head in denial, as the state described how he and his ex-girlfriend zip-tied the boy to his bed.
"We were basically trying to get him to be a good boy," Marshall told the judge. "We wasn't trying to hurt him, but help him, but we went about it the wrong way."
At times, Marshall justified the punishment, saying they were trying get his son to behave, by letting him quote "hit rock bottom." They said the boy's diet was restricted to curb his high cholesterol.
"Quite frankly, it's disturbing," the judge replied.
Both Glass and Marshall were charged with child abuse. Glass has already been convicted on all 8 counts of abuse and faces up to 140 years in prison. Marshall is scheduled to be sentenced on April 4.