A Mid-Michigan mother and father are heading to trial in the death of their 3-year-old daughter Emma.
George and Destiny Bingaman have been charged with felony murder, first-degree child abuse, torture, and two counts of first-degree child abuse committed in the presence of another child.
Police responded to the family’s Mt. Morris Township home earlier this year because Emma wasn’t breathing.
Officers said on the way to the hospital, they noticed Emma was malnourished and had signs of abuse. The child was pronounced dead at the hospital.
During a court appearance on Nov. 5, Judge Vikki Haley read findings from the autopsy and Genesee County Medical Examiner Brian Hunter’s report. It said Emma died because of abuse and neglect, and said the girl was covered in old and new lacerations and weighed less than 10 pounds.
Haley said during interviews with investigators, Destiny admitted to hitting Emma 15 times because she was stressed out and having financial problems. George also said Destiny was only feeding the 3-year-old Mountain Dew and yogurt.
"The defendant knew how to care for a child, but she sought to take her stress out on her weakest," Haley said.
Haley said based on the prosecution's evidence there is no way the defendants did not know the treatment of their special needs daughter could cause serious harm.
"The people have proven well beyond probably cause for the charge of felony murder, child abuse in the first-degree. And through the pictures and interviews with doctors, torture," Haley said.
The defendants had pretrial hearings on April 8 in Genesee County 7th Circuit Court. Officials said they were charged with first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree child abuse, and torture in the death of the child.
The final pretrial date is set for April 26, and trial starts Mon. May 7th at 8:30 a.m.
The defendants have two other children who did not appear to be malnourished or abused. Those children are in temporary foster care.