Markell Deon Hilaire was arrested Friday, June 3, and appeared in court for the first time on June 6, the Washington County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
The case went viral after the boy’s father, Joshua Marbury, and mother Alicia Quinney, posted on Facebook last month after the district attorney told them the suspect would not be facing charges because the baby boy wasn’t able to tell police what happened.
The hashtag Justice for Jacob spread across the Internet, with thousands calling for a change in the state law.
After the investigation was re-opened, Hilaire was charged with first-degree criminal mistreatment, third-degree assault and fourth-degree assault, the district attorney said. The prosecutor said he is not able to comment on the specifics of the case, including what led to the charges being filed.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jacob’s Parents Say Hilaire Slapped Him in the Face & ‘Could Have Killed Him’
Jacob Marbury was hit across the face, his father, Joshua Marbury, wrote on Facebook. Joshua Marbury said multiple doctors and the detective investigating the case said the abuse “could have killed him.”
The abuse of Jacob occurred in March, just after he turned 1, his mother, Alicia Quinney wrote in a Facebook post.
“His babysitter hit him, dragged him & smothered him. Little Jacob was in two hospitals and went thru a multitude of tests,” Quinney wrote. “By the grace of God little Jacob is alive. His 3 year old sister is in counseling due to witnessing this horrific assault to her baby brother. The babysitter admitted to doing this to baby Jacob to the investigator.”
Joshua Marbury, a car salesman, and Quinney, a stay-at-home mother to Jacob and their daughter, live in Sherwood, Oregon.
2. Hilaire Is Being Held on $10,000 Bail in the County Jail
Markell Deon Hilaire is a Portland, Oregon, native who went to Roosevelt High School and has also lived in Sacramento, California. He is a friend of the boy’s father, according to The Oregonian.
Hilaire appeared in court on June 6. He remains in custody at the Washington County Jail on $10,000 bail, The Oregonian reports.
His aunt told the newspaper her nephew was drinking the night of the alleged abuse and she criticized the parents for leaving the boy in his care. She said he does not have a violent past and told reporters at his hearing that he has received death threats since the story went viral.
Marbury and Quinney both posted on Facebook on Monday saying that the case is now in the hands of the justice system and thanking their supporters.
3. The Boy’s Father Says Hilaire Confessed to the Abuse
Joshua Marbury turned to Facebook to call attention to the case after becoming frustrated with the way it was handled. His post has not been shared more than 400,000 times. He said the abuser confessed, but that wasn’t enough for charges.
Alicia Quinney wrote on Facebook, “They have to be able to prove substantial pain to be able to prosecute even tho the Deputy D.A. says they know the babysitter did it. They can’t prove substantial pain because baby Jacob can’t speak. Social media can help at times and this is one of them. We need to be Jacobs voice. If you feel in your heart to share please do.”
Washington County Deputy District Attorney Dustin Staten told The Oregonian he had not seen the photos until they were posted to Facebook by Joshua Marbury. But Staten said investigative photos were taken during the investigation.
“Seeing those photos has caused me to want to take a different path,” Staten told newspaper. “There’s additional people I need to consult with based on those photos I’ve seen today.”
4. Marbury Says the First Investigation Took 2 Months Before They Were Told No Charges Would Be Filed
Joshua Marbury said he and his girlfriend, Alicia Quinney, waited two months until they heard from the district attorney’s office that the case was being dropped.
“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,” Marbury wrote on Facebook.
Marbury said Washington County Deputy District Attorney Dustin Staten included a link to an Oregonian story headlined “Even pets are better protected than young kids under Oregon abuse laws, prosecutors say,” in an email about a case.
The law says prosecutors must prove a victim suffered a “physical injury,” which means showing a child experienced “substantial pain,” according to The Oregonian. But prosecutors said that is hard to prove when victims can’t talk about the pain or suffering the assault caused. The Oregon Court of Appeals has also ruled welts, bruises and shallow cuts are not enough proof, the newspaper reports.
“A dead body cant tell you who killed them. Yet a baby isnt held to the same standard because he cant talk???? Well neither can a dead body. THATS BLASPHEMY. You waited 2 months if not longer to tell us this???? Something needs to be done. NOBODY can just hit a child and more to just get away with it because the child cant verbally tell you,” Marbury wrote.
You can read Marbury’s full post below:
Oregon attorney Paul Mones told KATU-TV he sees issue with the 2012 ruling cited by prosecutors.
“It’s giving a license to those abusers to injure children. If those children were in California, for example, or across the border — across the bridge up in Washington, that would not be the situation because the mere fact of the presence of bruises. The mere fact of the presence of scratches, etc. is an objective indicator of the injury,” Mones told the news station. “To really look at the issue of whether a person can verbalize the emotional pain or can verbalize ‘Oh, I can’t move my arm’ is really against everything we know about modern understanding of child abuse and the effect on children.”
Alicia Quinney wrote on Facebook, “This person did MORE then slap him across the face. Our son was beat up, dragged and strangled. THIS INNOCENT LITTLE BABY. We were told charges WOULD be pressed and now they aren’t because our ONE YEAR old can’t use his words and express how much pain he was in. We have gone through and ARE still going through hurt and this poor baby boy has experienced SO MUCH trauma. Now our daughter who his 3 years old is having to go to counseling because of this sick person who BEAT UP OUR SON!!! NO ONE should be able to get away with this. Oregon law pays WAY more attention to animals who are abused then BABIES.”
5. The DA Says ‘Animals Are More Protected From Physical Injury Than Many Children’
District Attorney Dustin Staten said the Oregon law that led to the original decision not to press charges still needs to be fixed, despite charges being filed in this case.
“Under current Oregon law, animals are more protected from physical injury than many children,” he said in a press release.
More information about the issue can be found here.