Sunday, February 7, 2016

Custodial dad, step found guilty of 1st-degree murder in death of 5-year-old girl (St. Clair County, Michigan)

The custodial dad is identified as ANDREW MAISON. See the Killer Dads and Custody list for Michigan. See prior posts here.

Couple guilty in death of 5-year-old Mackenzie Maison

Beth LeBlanc, Port Huron Times Herald 6:36 p.m. EST January 29, 2016

Hilery Maison wiped her eyes before handcuffs were snapped around her wrists in St. Clair County Circuit Judge Daniel Kelly’s courtroom Friday afternoon.

After about four hours of deliberation, a jury of 12 found Hilery and Andrew Maison guilty in the death of 5-year-old Mackenzie Maison.

The Port Huron couple is guilty of felony murder in the girl's death, and first-degree child abuse and torture of Mackenzie and her 3-year-old sister, Makayla.

First-degree felony murder is punishable by life in prison without parole.

Senior Assistant Prosecutor Mona Armstrong said the jurors’ verdict achieved some level of justice for the girls.

“It doesn’t change what happened and it doesn’t bring back Mackenzie,” Armstrong said. “It does serve a measure of justice. But it should never have gotten to this point.”

More than 20 witnesses — including family, friends, police, firefighters, paramedics and medical experts — testified during the six-day trial. Jurors deliberated for nearly four hours on the seventh day, Friday.

Witnesses testified at trial that Mackenzie was unresponsive when emergency personnel arrived about 8:30 p.m. May 26 at her Oak Street home.

According to 911 calls played in court, Hilery Maison, Mackenzie's stepmother, called dispatchers shortly before 8:30 p.m. She initially reported Mackenzie was "rebelling" against food then, later in the call, told the dispatcher Mackenzie wasn’t breathing.

Mackenzie was pronounced dead at the hospital after medical crews spent 45 minutes attempting to resuscitate her. Medical experts have testified she was malnourished, dehydrated, bruised and had pneumonia. She weighed 25 pounds.

Makayla also was hospitalized for malnourishment. She weighed 17 pounds, but has since doubled her weight while in foster care.

According to previous testimony, neither girl had seen a doctor for at least a year prior to Mackenzie’s death, even though the girls were losing weight and follow-up appointments were recommended.

Mackenzie’s death was ruled a homicide. The cause of death was classified as dehydration and malnutrition complicated by pneumonia and its related conditions.