Michael and Heather Martin, the parents behind the YouTube channel DaddyOFive have finally been sentenced today to five years of probation. They are on probation for child neglect. The two parents sparked controversy and an investigation by posting “prank” videos on their YouTube channel.
The videos were of Michael and Heather pranking their children, but not in an actually funny way. They were more traumatizing pranks. Multiple videos showed the two screaming and swearing at their kids until they cried. There was one video that showed Michael shoving his youngest kid who then got a bloody nose.
Michael and Heather’s videos have been deleted but another YouTuber, Philip DeFranco has clips of their abuse. This video basically kickstarted the internet reporting their channel.
According to the plea agreement between the couple and Fredrick County State, Heather and Michael entered an Alford plea. An Alford plea is a specialty plea where the defendants, Heather and Michael, are pleading guilty, but not because they admitted what they did was wrong. They are pleading guilty because the prosecutor has enough evidence to get them convicted.
The county started their investigation because of the couple’s YouTube videos. The parents and their five kids all had psychological evaluations to show if the pranking did cause damage. Fredrick County’s Assistant State’s Attorney, Lindy Angel told BuzzFeed News that two of the Martin’s children, 10-year-old Cody and 11-year-old Emma, were the only ones who were found to have suffered “mental injury” from the videos.
Cody was the boy in Philip’s YouTube video about DaddyOFive that he featured the most. He pointed out that Cody was continuously the subject of their pranks. It’s also important to note that Cody and Emma were the only two of the five children who were Heather’s step children while Michael is their biological father. They are also the youngest of their five kids.
In May the couple lost custody of Cody and Emma. Their new probation prohibits them from having contact with Cody or Emma unless a judge allows it due to their ongoing custody case. Heathy and Michael are also not allowed to post videos of Cody and Emma on YouTube or any social media platforms.
Lindy said that the couple had “no intention to injure the children.” The prank videos that sparked the investigation were, “insensitive, cruel, bad decision-making, but there was no real intention behind it.”
She says that the couple are taking their probation and hearing very seriously.