Hartnett child abuse case moves forward after plea withdrawn

Marc Steven Hartnett
Marc Steven Hartnett

REED CITY — With a plea agreement no longer in place, an Evart man charged with multiple felonies for allegedly abusing a child could be headed to trial.

Marc Steven Hartnett, 20, was arrested and charged in September with one count of first-degree child abuse, one count of torture and one count of assault with intent to murder.

In April, as part of a plea deal with the Osceola County Prosecutor’s Office, Hartnett entered a no contest plea to the first-degree child abuse charge and an added charge of assault to do great bodily harm less than murder. In exchange for his plea, the two additional charges were to be dismissed by prosecutors.

Hartnett was scheduled to be sentenced in May, but ultimately withdrew his plea. Hartnett faces life in prison, while the plea agreement had called for a maximum sentence of 40 years. The agreement also had set a minimum sentence between 81 and 135 months to be determined by the judge at sentencing.

According to Osceola County’s 49th Circuit Court, Hartnett has a settlement conference set for July 1. A four-day trial is set to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 20, if a resolution is not reached beforehand.

The charges stem from critical injuries sustained by a 19-month-old boy allegedly at the hands of Hartnett. According to court documents, the abuse happened on Wednesday, Sept. 23, in Evart.

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Mount Pleasant Post Reed City detachment were dispatched shortly after midnight on Thursday, Sept. 24, to investigate the incident, in which the mother had returned home and found the boy unresponsive with severe injuries.

The child was transported by ambulance to Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital and then airlifted to DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. The child underwent surgery for life-threatening injuries.

After the investigation, Hartnett, the mother’s boyfriend, was arrested.