The parents who ignited a firestorm of controversy with their hard-to-watch “DaddyOFive” YouTube channel have been sentenced to five years’ probation on charges of child neglect after they filmed themselves playing cruel and harmful “pranks” on their young children.
Michael and Heather Martin of Ijamsville, Maryland, both entered Alford pleas to two counts of child neglect each, the Baltimore Sun reported. This meant that the couple still claims that they are innocent despite admitting that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them in the courtroom.
The Martins became some of the most hated people on the Internet after their so-called prank videos began to draw attention, showing the parents pulling off mean-spirited stunts against their children that, at times, caused them to suffer physical injuries.
A grassroots effort on the part of outraged viewers saw hundreds call and email law enforcement offices in Maryland. Frederic County Assistant State’s Attorney Lindy Angel acknowledged that the investigation began in April after “multiple sources” alerted the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office to the “DaddyOFive” YouTube channel. All the offending videos have since been deleted.
Angel also noted that 11-year-old Emma and 10-year-old Cody Martin, biological children of Michael Martin and the stepchildren of Heather Martin, had developed “observable, identifiable and substantial impairments of their mental or psychological ability to function.”
“It became correlated directly to the behavior and actions of the defendants, the Martins,” she said, noting that the other children in the videos, who are Heather Martin’s biological children, were not part of the investigation.
While on probation, the couple will not be able to have any contact with Emma, Cody, or their biological mother, Rose Hall, without a court order. They have also been barred from uploading any videos or images of the children to social media unless for “legitimate family purposes” and will undergo mental health treatment.
Attorney Stephen R. Tully, who represents the Martins, plans to file a motion asking the judge to lessen their sentences and/or to expunge the charges should they follow all the terms of their probation. If they do not abide by the terms, they face up to ten years in prison.