The Associated Press reports that the Martins entered pleas for two counts of child neglect before their sentencing. The majority of the videos on their channel has been deleted, but according to USA Today, the videos often focused on the couple’s children, particularly Michael Martin’s son Cody, who they threatened to adopt out on camera. The AP has an even more harrowing description:
In more than 300 now-deleted videos, the parents screamed profanities at their children and broke their toys. In one of the videos, Michael Martin was seen pushing his son into a bookshelf, which resulted into the boy getting a bloody nose, and ordering one of his stepsons to slap his daughter. They later apologized in a video viewed over 5 million times.
Heather Martin is the children’s step-mother. Their biological mother, Rose Hall claimed she was given “emergency custody” of the kids in May. The conditions of the Martin’s probation maintain that the couple cannot contact either of Michael Martin’s two children with Hall without her permission. Their three other children were not part of the investigation, according to the AP.
Hall’s lawyer, Tim Conlon, said that since being in their mother’s care they’re “getting back to their playful selves,” though in court, prosecutors argued that the ordeal of being in their caretakers’ YouTube videos caused “substantial impairments of their mental or psychological ability to function.”