Recently, a 5-year-old Port Huron girl died due to what authorities believe was malnutrition, according to a news article at Mlive.com. Police received a call that Mackenzie Maison was unresponsive in her home. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Reports indicate that two children in the home, both girls ages 3 and 5, were dehydrated, malnourished, and emaciated. Authorities also say there were signs of physical abuse on the two young girls. Port Huron Public Safety Director Michael Reaves said that there were also two boys living at the home, and that they appeared to be in fine condition, with no signs of neglect or abuse. Mackenzie’s father and stepmother are now accused of murder.
Andrew Maison, 25, and Hilery Maison, 27, were arraigned on criminal charges on Friday, May 29. Each is charged with two counts of first-degree child abuse, two counts of torture, and one count of open murder. The Maison’s probable cause hearing is scheduled for June 9. Reaves said that while the parents indicated the children had a reluctance to eat, the physical appearance of the two girls was not in line with what would be considered children who were simply picky eaters or on the thin side.
The Maisons were denied bond.
This is truly a tragedy, as news reports indicate the girls’ bodies had deteriorated to such an extent they could not care for themselves or even play outdoors. Why were the girls in such poor condition, and the boys seemingly well cared for? Questions we may never know the answer to.
Open murder is an extremely serious charge. In the state of Michigan, a prosecutor is not required to determine whether the defendant will be charged with first-degree murder, or second-degree murder; this decision is left to the jury after being provided with the evidence, testimony, and other details at trial. First-degree murder is typically either felony murder, or premeditated murder. Second-degree murder involves actions that would likely cause death or great bodily harm, and creating these circumstances knowing that the action could result in death or great bodily harm.
Regardless, the criminal penalties for a murder conviction of any degree are severe, and include substantial prison time (in some instances mandatory life without parole). If you have been charged with murder or any serious/violent crime, consult with an experienced and aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney right away. You must take action immediately to protect your legal rights, freedom, and future.