Michael and Heather Martin, the parents behind the controversial "DaddyOFive" channel, both entered Alford pleas, which means they don't admit wrongdoing but acknowledge that prosecutors have enough evidence to win a conviction.
Back in May, we reported that the Martins lost custody of Cody and Emma, Michael's biological children and Heather's stepchildren, after viewers called them out for being physically and emotionally abusive. Cody, the youngest of five, was often the target of these pranks. He was pushed into a bookcase, which gave him a bloody nose, or was blamed and yelled at for spilling ink (which the parents planted) until he was visibly upset and crying. Videos, hundreds of which have now been deleted, also include the parents destroying an Xbox, cursing out their kids or ordering one of the other children to slap Emma.
A neuropsychologist who worked with Frederick County Child Protective Services during the investigation found that both children suffered "observable, identifiable and substantial impairments of their mental or psychological ability to function."
Instead of getting the maximum five years of prison for each conviction, the Martins received a suspended sentence of five years of probation. Under the probation terms, the parents can't have contact with 10-year-old Cody and 11-year-old Emma, who are currently in foster care, or the children's biological mother, Rose Hall, unless approved by the court. The couple is also not allowed to post any videos or photos of the children on social media, except for legitimate family purposes. Plus, Michael and Heather will have to submit evaluations and adhere to mental health treatment.
If they violate their probation, they could face a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the Martins' defense attorney, Stephen R. Tully, plans to "file a motion asking the judge to consider dismissing or reducing sentences and/or expunging charges from their records, should the Martins abide by the conditions of their probation."
The couple’s three other kids, Michael's stepchildren and Heather's biological children, weren't part of the investigation.
Since the investigation, the Martins have posted videos apologizing for their content. However, they were peppered with excuses, saying the kids "would get excited when they would get a lot of views. You know, it was more for shock value."
Although "DaddyOFive" has been largely inactive, other than the public apology and a couple of gaming videos, the couple has posted prank videos without the children on their "MommyOFive" channel.