ANN ARBOR, MI – An Ypsilanti Township couple accused of beating their children with fraternity paddles were sentenced to prison in the Washtenaw County Trial Court Monday, Sept. 11.
Michael G. May II, 34, considered the main culprit, was sentenced to serve 18-50 years in prison. His wife, Shivohn May, 35, was sentenced to serve 42-70 months, around 3-5 years.
Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Blake Hatlem argued for the stiffest possible sentence for Michael May and brought the bloody fraternity paddles with him to Judge David Swartz’s courtroom.
“I want the court to feel the weight of that,” he said, adding that the case was “staggering in its brutality.”
Michael May was accused of beating five children with the paddles and extension cords, as well as making them do push-ups, wall sits and other exercises when they misbehaved.
By her own admission, Shivohn May allowed the abuse to go on. She is the mother of the five children – ages 15, 13, 12, 6 and 5. Michael May is the biological father of the youngest child.
Michael May appeared emotionally shaken at the defense table in court as the oldest child read a victim impact statement prior to sentencing Monday.
“I hope that you realize what you did isn’t OK,” she said. “This has been a struggle that me, my siblings and I had to go through for seven years and I’m glad that the pain is over.”
Despite pleading no contest to multiple felonies in the case, Michael May refused to admit that he’d done anything wrong. When given the chance to speak, Michael May gave a lengthy address to Judge Swartz.
He spoke about how he took care of the children when they were younger and started a mentoring program at their school. He told the judge about how he was looked up to in the day-trading community and how he taught children about stocks and entrepreneurship.
Judge Swartz later said he wasn’t sure why Michael May was telling him these things.
Michael May ultimately blamed his wife for the abuse, saying that she was the main aggressor. He said that “confrontation and arguing turned her on sexually,” and that he tried to get her help.
“The injuries my children experienced, or say they experienced, were not by my hand,” he said. “The charges given to me are not based on truth. I am not the aggressor. Everything is being dumped on me.”
Judge Swartz said Michael May is in “complete denial” about the case.
“For me to think these children are lying is ridiculous,” he said.
Judge Swartz said Michael May’s statement and lack of accountability led to the stiffest possible sentence. Prior to the statement, the judge said he was going to sentence him to the middle of the guidelines.
“All I heard was denial,” he said.
Michael May was sentenced on three counts of first-degree child abuse, three counts of first-degree child abuse in the presence of another child and one count of assault by strangulation. He received concurrent sentences on the lesser charges.
He pleaded no contest to the charges in July.
Shivohn May, who pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree child abuse, received a lighter sentence because she cooperated with authorities and was willing to testify against her husband, according to Hatlem.
Shivohn May apologized for the “lack of protection” of her children.
“I’m extremely sorry for everything that happened,” she said.