MILWAUKEE COUNTY -- A Cudahy couple on trial for child abuse both took the witness stand in their defense on Monday, July 29. They testified that they were doing the best they could raising eight children, some of them babies, while each holding down a job. They acknowledged there were disagreements between them and the victim, but said they never did what she has alleged.
On trial together, Kevin Boon-Bey and Felicia Boon explained to jurors in their words why their 15-year-old daughter says they were abusive.
Kevin Boon-Bey and Felicia Boon each face the following charges:
- Physical abuse of a child, repeated acts causing bodily harm, as party to a crime
- Causing mental harm to a child, as party to a crime
- Chronic neglect of a child, consequence is bodily harm, as party to a crime -- two counts
- Chronic neglect of a child, consequence is bodily harm
- False imprisonment, as party to a crime
"There's always been discipline, but there's never been abuse," said Boon-Bey.
Prosecutors said the couple locked the girl in her bedroom with zip ties between August and December 2018 at their Cudahy home. They testified zip ties were only used on the attic door, and that the victim spent most of her time in her room because she had failed freshman year, so she was being home-schooled.
"It was always expressed, 'Once you're done with the instructions that have been given to you, you're more than welcome to come out,'" said Boon-Bey.
The victim told jurors during testimony Thursday her food and bathroom privileges were limited during that time period, leaving her with no option but to soil herself.
Felicia Boon said instead, she believed the victim was having a mental breakdown.
"I was in disbelief. I couldn't understand it," said Felicia Boon.
Prosecutors said the other children in the house also beat and burned the victim under Felicia Boon's direction because she was sick of dealing with her.
"You hadn't seen her in over two weeks, right?" asked the prosecutor.
"I took care of this girl for eight years. I wouldn't let anybody do anything to her," said Felicia Boon.
The couple's friends, relatives, and landlords also testified for the defense Monday, indicating the house was always clean and organized and the victim never appeared to be in distress.