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Franklin County Woman Sentenced in Child Abuse Case

Michele Hunter was sentenced to a minimum of nine years to a maximum of 20 years in prison on four charges related to the abuse of Billy.
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. - A Franklin County woman charged with abusing her then four-year-old stepson, Billy, was sentenced Wednesday in court. 

Michele Hunter was sentenced to a minimum of nine years to a maximum of 20 years in prison on charges related to the abuse of Billy. She will receive credit for the three years she has already been in jail.

Hunter was convicted of aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children, simple assault, and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child. 

Prosecutors said Hunter pushed William "Billy" in 2011, causing him to hit his head on the floor. The now seven-year-old suffered severe brain damage as a result. 

Although Billy's adoptive family says they are happy Hunter received the maximum penalty allowed by the law, they say it's still not enough.

"[Billy's] sentence is life and this is the sentence he has because of something that he didn't do,” said Billy’s adoptive mother Kim Travis. "Somebody chose to do this."

Prosecutors argued passionately for the maximum aggravated sentence, highlighting the fact that Hunter waited 36 hours to call 911 after she pushed Billy.

According to Judge Van Horn, texts Hunter sent her husband during those crucial hours included messages that read: "He looks like a bruised up marionette" and "He's giving himself bruises walking and falling...LOL.”

"[The texts] made me sick...they were horrific," said Kim. "They had no human decency at all."

While reading the sentence, Van Horn said Hunter has shown little remorse for what she did to Billy.

"She continues to make it about her,” said Kim. “And to continue to not hold any responsibility."

"As a parent, I can't fathom not doing anything when a child is hurt,” said Billy’s adoptive father Bob.

Hunter also spoke in front of the judge, tearfully saying she would never hurt Billy, but Van Horn was not persuaded, saying Billy is now “struggling to have a life that even none of us would want” because of her actions.

Billy's family says with the case closed, they are now focusing on spreading awareness about child abuse prevention.

"We want to be a voice for of course Billy [and] other children out there,” said Bob.

Prosecutors say they are considering filing a homicide case against Hunter in the future.

Billy's parents are currently trying to raise funds to build an extension on their home. The new room will give them much needed space for Billy and all of his medical equipment.

If you want to help, click here.

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