LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A child is now blind because of abuse he suffered.
The I-Team brought you the story in February. Now, we’re hearing from the boy himself in a story you’ll only read here.
Life for Markus Gray has been different after the 9-year-old was rendered blind after a beating with a belt last November.
“What did I do wrong?” he questioned.
His paternal grandmother, Debra Evans, cares for him.
“To me, there is nothing that you could have ever done to deserve for this to happen to you, nothing,” she answered.
Metro Police say Akoya Hudgins hit Markus with a belt to discipline him. He was the live-in boyfriend of Markus’ mother, Jerashaun Jackson.
Even after they knew the boy was hurt, Jackson didn’t take him to the hospital until six days later. Hudgins and Jackson were eventually arrested.
Hudgins apologized during an interview with the I-Team from jail in February.
“As I was going to swing the belt, the kid, like, turned around like this, and I accidentally hit him the face,” he recounted.
A doctor explained in front of the grand jury, for injuries like Markus’, his eyesight may have been saved if he had received medical treatment sooner.
The I-Team questioned why Hudgins didn’t get him help, to which he replied:
“I told her to get it checked out to see how his eyes were doing, but I’m not the parent, so I can’t go and take him and get him checked out.”
He also confirmed to us he was the one who hit Markus with the belt, saying, “Yes, ma’am, I hit him with a belt one time, yes ma’am.”
Markus is adapting to his new normal.
“Last time I could see shadows, and yeah, shadows. But now I can’t,” he shared.
Evans says Markus is learning Braille now, and he’s doing well in school. He spends time listening to music, his favorites being Katy Perry, Lady GaGa and Taylor Swift.
He’s also a fan of the Arts:
“I like ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading, acrobatic, dancing and a lot of stuff.”
“He’s a very unique little kid,” Evans said. Markus questioned what that meant, and she replied, “Unique meaning that you do some awesome stuff sometimes, and he wants to be this, what can I say? He wants to be a star.”
The I-Team asked Markus what he wants to be when he grows up.
“I don’t know … I guess I want to be in a cheerleading group,” he smiled.
He also has another wish: surgery, so he can see again.
Evans says doctors say they’ve done what they can, but she and Markus are holding onto hope. He was hurt nearly one year ago, and for Evans, it’s hard to think about.
Hudgins pleaded guilty to child abuse and was sentenced four to 10 years in prison. Jackson is awaiting trial.
Evans says she and Markus are taking it one day at a time.
“He should have never had to experience none of this,” she lamented.
Markus’ grandmother says his teacher told her he is doing so well in school, he could be in a gifted program.