BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Michael Marshall will spend 30 years in prison for nearly starving his 12-year-old son to death.
Marshall pleaded no contest to multiple charges of aggravated abuse, false imprisonment and neglect in February.
Marshall and his live-in girlfriend, Sharon Glass, were both arrested, accused of starving Marshall's son.
When he accepted the plea deal, Marshall, 40, offered a mumbled and sometimes disturbing explanation for the starvation and caging of his son, who weighed only 40 pounds when he was discovered by police.
"We weren't trying to hurt him," said Marshall. "We were trying to help him and went the wrong way about it. We were trying to get him to be a good boy, basically."
In court on Friday Marshall and others, including his mother, said he was following Glass' lead.
"Mike Jr. reminds me of a puppet on a string and Sharon Glass pulled the strings," said Marshall's mother, Juanita Wright.
Glass was sentenced to 40 years in prison last month after being found guilty of the charges against her in a January trial.
On Friday the judge said he recognized that Marshall had some mental deficiencies, but said Marshall didn't meet his child's most basic need of food and shelter.
A psychologist testified that Marshall has an IQ of 66.
Marshall, who also has a daughter, asked for forgiveness on Friday.
"I just hope one day that my children can forgive me," Marshall said in court.
The judge said that it was a difficult case, but he was concerned that Marshall didn't seem to be taking responsibility for his role in the case.
In Glass' trial prosecutors said the boy was caged or tied up most of the time.
On the stand in her trial, Glass said Marshall took steps to cover up his son's condition.
"Mike always had him wear bulky sweatshirts, hood things and sweat pants," Glass said.
Glass told jurors in her trial that Marshall was the primary abuser and even abused her.
"I strongly believed he was going to kill me, that I was his true love and he didn't want anyone else to have me," said Glass.
On Friday prosecutors told the judge that Marshall's children were together in a new home and were doing well.