Baby sitter accused of killing child breaks down during testimony

Michelle Heale testifies about the death of the 14-month-old child she is accused of killing.

Michelle Heale testifies about the death of the 14-month-old child she is accused of killing. (4/7/15)

FREEHOLD - The baby sitter accused of violently shaking the child she was caring for to death took the stand Tuesday during her trial.

Michelle Heale has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and murder in the death of 14-month-old Mason Hess.

Heale explained that Hess was sitting on her bedroom floor when he began choking on applesauce in August 2012. 

She testified that she picked him up and hit him on the back until the applesauce came out.

"When I put him back down, his head just snapped back very fast and he went completely limp,” she testified. “He just had no movement anywhere."

She says she then immediately called 911.

The prosecutor argues that Heale murdered the child based on a doctor’s report that states Hess was violently shaken to death and suffered brain and spinal damage.

Heale became visibly upset when prosecutors brought out a doll so she could demonstrate how she handled Hess. She broke down crying while demonstrating how she hit him on the back.

Heale was a longtime baby sitter for the Hess family. The two couples were close due to the fact that the two husbands were both detectives in Ocean County. 

The trial is expected to resume Wednesday.

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