For more than two years, as Willie Robinson's health deteriorated, family members tried to discuss the situation with parents Monica Hussing and William Robinson Sr., but the couple never got their son treatment—even as, one relative claimed, glands in his neck swelled to the size of a softball. "Twenty-nine months he suffered," said Hussing's sister at yesterday's sentencing hearing. "Twenty-nine months they had to do something and they chose not to." After collapsing on March 22, 2008, Willie died, aged 8, from Hodgkin lymphoma—a highly treatable cancer that was not diagnosed until his autopsy. Yesterday his parents were sentenced to eight years in prison, the AP reports.
In the days before his death, as his mother treated him with cold medicine, Willie had begged to be taken to a doctor, prosecutors said, adding that at least eight family members confronted the couple about their son's health. Attorneys for Hussing, 37, and Robinson, 40, say the couple had financial difficulties and couldn't afford medical care, but Hussing's sister said that the real reason for the neglect was that Hussing stayed in bed all day and did drugs. Willie and his three siblings were also not enrolled in school. The judge who accepted Hussing's and Robinson's guilty pleas to attempted involuntary manslaughter gave them the maximum sentence, comparing Willie's emaciated body in his autopsy photo to the bodies of concentration camp victims. "If anybody, anybody, didn't know this kid was sick, they are seriously, seriously disturbed," he said. Click for the full article. (Read more Monica Hussing stories.)