The Oregon babysitter who beat a 1-year-old boy while his parents left him in charge of the toddler apologized for what he did to the child, saying in court he hopes the tot is “okay and he grows.”
As the family of little Jacob Marbury’s family looked on, Markell Hilaire pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in an attack that left the baby bruised and battered and said he was sorry for what he had done.
“First of all, I want to apologize for what I did,” Hilaire, 27, said in court on Thursday, KPTV-TV reported. “It does not define what I am and I was not in the right state of mind when I did what I did and I hope that Jacob is okay and he grows.”
The incident occurred back in March when the parents left Jacob and his older sister in the care of Hilaire, a family friend.
When they returned home, they found their little boy crying, alone on his bedroom floor as the man lay passed out on the couch, said Jacob’s mother, Alicia Quinney.
“My 3-year-old daughter, to this day, talks about stuff that happened that night,” Quinney tearfully told the court.
The full extent of Jacob's injuries — including a black eye — became clear the next day, the mother told Inside Edition.
“The whole side of his face black and blue,” she said in June. “His arm was bruised. The next day, bruises on his back showed up. He had marks under his eye, in his eye. His ear had a bunch of marks in it."
Hilaire was arrested in June after Jacob’s furious father took to social media to share photos of the beating aftermath and to blast authorities for failing to act because of a technicality.
"After TWO months of waiting we only find out that charges are dropped BECAUSE my one year old cannot tell you verbally he was abused and my son did not show he was in pain OR that this person ‘intentionally’ did this," Jacob’s father, Joshua Marbury, wrote on Facebook in May.
State law requires prosecutors to prove an abused child experienced “substantial pain” before an adult can be convicted of felony assault or criminal mistreatment.
"I am SO furious that im not using profanity HOPING something is done and this goes viral," Marbury wrote.
The post and the photos were shared thousands of times and prompted authorities to take another look at the case.
After Hilaire pleaded guilty, Quinney called the development a step in the right direction.
“Today was a huge win for justice!” she wrote. “Thank you for all the prayers and support during this difficult time and continued prayers for healing would be appreciated.”
In separate posts, the mother noted that she and her family will continue to fight to see changes made to Oregon’s law.
The district attorney's office appeared to agree with Quinney, saying in a June statement: "Although charges were filed in this particular case, the need to fix Oregon law to protect vulnerable victims remains. Under current Oregon law, animals are more protected from physical injury than many children."
Hilaire will be sentenced to three months in jail and three years of supervised probation.
His aunt, Dionee Hilaire, disagreed with the sentence, claiming that Jacob’s parents knew that the babysitter was drunk and still left him alone. She said she will continue to support him.
“Me — his family, his auntie — I will be there for him,” she told reporters.