(Reuters) - A Michigan judge on Wednesday ordered the father and stepmother of a boy found emaciated in his own basement a year ago to stand trial on child abuse charges and dismissed a more serious torture charge, prosecutors said.
Charlie Bothuell IV and Monique Dillard Bothuell are charged with second-degree child abuse and accused of keeping the boy, then 12, in the basement of their home and forcing him to undergo excessive physical training.
Convictions for second-degree child abuse carry prison sentences of up to 10 years. The Bothuells could have been sentenced to up to life in prison if convicted of torture.
Judge Shannon Holmes reduced the bail for both to $50,000 each, from $500,000 each, at the conclusion of the hearing, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said.
Charlie Bothuell V, now 13, testified during the hearing held on various days over the past three months that he was forced to exercise for up to two hours every morning and again each night and was struck or forced to stand at attention in a corner if he faltered.
He testified that his stepmother accused him of cutting his exercise short one day in June 2014 and led him into the basement to a spot cleared for him behind a stack of boxes.
They reported him missing that night and he spent days sneaking food and listened in silence when police came to the home, he said. He was found in the basement 11 days later.
Defense lawyers called his testimony coached and not
credible during the hearing.
The Bothuells are scheduled to appear in court on July 8.
(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Lisa Lambert in Washington)