A Cleveland couple pleaded guilty to attempted involuntary manslaughter on Monday, after failing to seek medical care for their ill son, William Willie Robinson Jr., 8, who suffered from a common, treatable form of cancer.
The parents, Monica Hussing, 37, and William Robinson Sr., 40, claim they could not afford to take their son to the doctor even though they spent $78 on a veterinarian appointment for their pit bull dog.
Prosecutors argue that Willie begged his parents to take him to a doctor because he felt ill. On Mar. 22, 2008, Willie collapsed at his family's home. When Hussing and Robinson finally took him to the hospital that day, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a common and treatable form of cancer. He died an hour later.
If the family had sought the help of trained medical professionals, prosecutors argue that Willie would have had a 96 percent chance of making a full recovery.
It's just been an absolute traumatic experience for all the parties involved. It's a really a very sad case, John Luskin, Hussing's attorney, told WJW.
However, Hussing's lawyer claims Willie's unfortunate death was unavoidable due to the parent's lack of health insurance and the fact that they have five other children.
Unfortunately, these people did not have that ability to get the proper health care and I think the entire system both in Warren, in Trumbull County and in Cuyahoga County...it was just a little bit of... the ball was dropped, Luskin continued.
The coroner's report ruled Robinson's death a homicide; the parents neglected to take action to protect their son and he eventually died from the cancer and pneumonia.
Hussing and Robinson's five other children, ages 8, 9, 10, 16 and 17, have been removed from the parents and are reportedly living with their aunt. The children had previously been kept out of school.
The couple has been free on bail for $150,000 each in Cleveland, Ohio since their son died in 2008. The couple will be sentenced on Feb. 16, 2012. They face between two and eight years.