FREEHOLD - A trial for an Ocean County baby sitter accused of killing a 14-month-old baby has begun.
Michelle Heale wept during opening arguments as prosecutors accused the Toms River woman of shaking Mason Hess so violently that he severed his spine and caused bleeding in his brain. Prosecutors refuted Heale’s claims that the baby choked on applesauce.
The woman’s attorney told jurors that Mason was very ill when he came to Heale’s home and claimed he had a bump on his head.
The trial was moved to Monmouth County because Heale’s husband and the victim’s father are both detectives with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
After opening arguments concluded, prosecutors began calling witnesses. If found guilty, Heale faces up to life in prison.