Grandmother of abused child speaks at Evart man’s sentencing

REED CITY — Trauma. That’s what an Evart man inflicted on a small boy and what the child’s family wants the abuser to think about during his time in prison.

After reaching a plea agreement last month, Marc Steven Hartnett, 21, received his prison sentence on Friday in Osceola County’s 49th Circuit Court.

Hartnett will spend a minimum of 13 years and maximum of 40 years in prison for a first-degree child abuse charge and three years and seven months in prison for assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. He is given credit for 379 days already served. Those sentences will run concurrently.

As part of a plea deal with the Osceola County Prosecutor’s Office, Hartnett entered a guilty plea to those charges, resulting in the dismissal of one count of torture and one count of assault with intent to murder.

Before Hartnett’s sentence was handed down, the victim’s grandmother stood at the podium to address the court, reading a letter she’d written.

No matter what sentence the court handed down, it would never be justice, the woman said as she started her speech.

“What we want for you is time to think and try to understand what the word trauma means. Do you understand what the word trauma means? I do. My family does. And the world knows what it means,” she said. “I want you to study the definition of the word trauma. What you did was indescribable, especially to a child who was 19 months old at the time.”

She went on to describe how the boy’s life, along with the lives of his family members, would never be the same again.

“We will all have trauma,” the grandmother continued. “We are all scarred emotionally and he’s scarred physically. We will always continue to find justice in this. Our love for him grows stronger and stronger every day.”

Hartnett’s charges stem from critical injuries sustained by a 19-month-old boy. According to court documents, the abuse happened on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Evart.

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Mount Pleasant Post Reed City detachment were dispatched shortly after midnight on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, to investigate the incident. After leaving Hartnett to care for the boy, the child’s mother had returned home and found him 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 was arrested. 

At sentencing, Hartnett’s attorney, Denis DuVall, called the case tragic all around and said his client has great remorse for what happened. 

In briefly speaking to the court, Hartnett apologized for taking up the court’s time and said everything else he wanted to express was in a letter given to the court. Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy did not read the letter out loud. The judge also referenced having received letters in support of Hartnett, expressing how the behavior was not like him and he was not a violent person. 

If convicted by a jury of the first-degree child abuse charge, Hartnett faced a maximum penalty of life in prison.