Murray Enters Plea In Child Abuse
Joscelyn Amber Murray of 2427 Heavenly Acres Ridge Road, Mercersburg, stood before Fulton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Angela Krom Tuesday for arraignment on one count each of aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children and simple assault. The accusations against the 26-yearold emerged in mid-November 2011 when a 2-year-old girl was hospitalized with severe injuries consistent with both “abuse and neglect.”
Murray, who is represented in court proceedings by Fulton County Public Defender Dwight Harvey, pleaded not guilty to all charges. She is next slated to appear in court on April 10 for call of the criminal trial list. Murray will have the opportunity at that time to enter a plea, accept any agreement that may have been offered by the commonwealth or request a trial by judge or jury.
Murray and her boyfriend, Lance Alan Hixon, were arrested on November 16 by Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Michael Davis. She currently remains incarcerated in the Franklin County Prison in lieu of $100,000 straight bail. Meanwhile, Hixon, 32, posted bail the day after his arrest and is currently awaiting formal arraignment in the Court of Common Pleas.
Trooper Davis said in an affidavit of probable cause filed in the companion cases that medical staff at the emergency room of Fulton County Medical Center treated a toddler who had sustained “multiple bruises covering the majority of her head, face and body” as well as swollen eyes, which were closed tightly with large abrasions beneath. The trooper further alleged in his report the girl was also missing a large portion of her hair; had a wound on her right thigh that appeared to be caused by a straptype object; and also had a dime-size infected wound on her left leg.
All wounds were photographed and documented prior to the girl being transported to Hershey Medical Center for additional treatment and observation. Doctors there told police investigators the girl was to be placed under anesthesia so her eyes could be opened and examined, charging documents state.
It was later determined by physicians at Hershey that damage to the girl’s eyes was as a result of trauma and an untreated infection. It was further noted the doctors felt the abrasions under the child’s eyes were consistent with that of a burn injury.
Speaking with police investigators Murray said the girl “smacked the right side of her face on the tank of the toilet” while nodding off during a late night bathroom visit at Hixon’s home at 1889 Lehman Road, Warfordsburg. Murray and two juveniles in her care frequently stayed with Hixon since they had begun dating several months prior.
Murray maintained she used a light to check the girl’s eyes, applied ice to her face and kept a close eye on her but found the bruising on her cheek was getting darker, police alleged in charging documents.
Murray said while she was wiping around her eyes, the wet washcloth caused brush burns around her eyes. She said she applied liquid hydrogen peroxide to the brush burns so they would not get infected. Murray said as she was applying the peroxide, the victim rubbed her face and in doing so she rubbed the peroxide in her eyes that led to swelling.