What is there left to say in your own defense after admitting to hauling your own child back into your home to face another round of physical abuse from your boyfriend, and force him out of his hiding place in the oven by turning it on?
In Debra Chatman's case, not much, especially when you're also being beaten by the same man. Chatham pleaded guilty to felony child endangerment today.
Her boyfriend, William T. Hurley, was found guilty June 1 of malicious punishment in the case. He was accused of punching, whipping and burning the 11-year-old as an act of discipline.
Prosecutors said Chatman knew her son was being beaten by Hurley, 23, and yet pulled him back into the home when he tried to escape. As the abuse continued, the boy tried to hide in the oven; Chatman turned it on to force him out. The beating continued when the boy came out of the oven.
The Star Tribune reports Chatman gave simple "yes" and "no" answers to questions about the nightmarish day last year:
Prosecutor Dan Allard asked: "You had other options. You could have gone to a neighbor's. You could have called 911. You didn't do anything of those things?"
Without turning to look at him, Chatman responded, "No."
Making matters worse for her: She was afraid of what might happen to her 6-year-old and 1-year-old, who were also in the home.
She's to be sentenced in August.