A New Jersey mother broke down into tears during her murder trial while reenacting the moment a 14-month-old child she was babysitting died in her arms after his neck snapped.
Michelle Heale, 46, said in court on April 7 that she was trying to burp Mason Hess on Aug. 20, 2012, after she noticed he was choking on applesauce, NJ.com reported.
“I hit him hard on the back. I may have hit him harder than I should have,” Heale said during the demonstration, fighting back tears.
“I hit him about four or five times, and then I felt the applesauce come out,” she continued. “I felt it on my shoulder and I felt it on my shirt.”
She thought she had fixed the problem but when she put the child down, something horrible happened.
“As I brought him down, his head snapped back … he was completely limp,” Heale said. “His eyes were open, but he wasn’t doing anything.”
The baby was airlifted to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia but died three days later.
Heale was charged with murder and endangering the welfare of a child after a medical examiner determined the child died as a result of homicide caused by blunt cerebral trauma, Daily Mail reports.
The Heale and Hess families were reportedly close friends for years. After the horrific incident, Heale spent most of her days in disbelief and fear that her own twin babies would be taken away.
“I thought they were going to take my kids from me because I was told that I had hurt Mason,” Heale said. “I thought that once they were made aware that I had my own kids that they were going to take them from me.”
She would ultimately keep custody of her children and told the jury that at the end of the day, she “would never hurt Mason or anybody.”
Heale is out on bail but is facing up to life in prison.
Photo Credit: Screen Capture Via APP.com