2012-02-02 / Front Page

Hixon Pleads Guilty In Child Endangerment

Will testify if need be against girlfriend and codefendant Joscelyn Murray
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Lance Hixon Lance Hixon A Union Township man publicly admitted under oath this week he should have sought medical treatment for a 2-year-old girl who was hospitalized last November with what medical personnel deemed life-threatening, if left untreated, injuries.

In pleading guilty to one count of endangering the welfare of a child, 32-year-old Lance Alan Hixon also went on to tell Fulton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Richard Walsh he should have “protected the girl.” The toddler is the biological daughter of then girlfriend and codefendant Joscelyn Amber Murray, 26, of Thompson Township.

The remaining charges of simple assault and aggravated assault are scheduled to be dismissed in Hixon’s case. Child endangerment carries a maximum penalty of seven years incarceration as well as $15,000 in fines.

Murray, 26, appeared in court several weeks ago and entered a not-guilty plea to one count each of aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child and simple assault. She is next scheduled to appear in county court for call of the criminal trial list on April 10 when she could accept an agreement, if one has been offered by the commonwealth, or request a trial by judge or jury. In the event the case proceeds to trial, Hixon has agreed to testify against Murray.

In reviewing court documents and the proposed guilty plea, Judge Walsh questioned who is speaking for the juvenile victim in order to determine if the agreement is acceptable. Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall stated he has spoken with both Services for Children and the Pennsylvania State Police regarding the matter, but he had not be en in direct contact with the child’s biological father.

The judge also went on to ask whether there is a potential for resolution in the Murray case. Saying “hope springs eternal,” Kendall responded he did not know if there was more than a 50/50 chance existed of Murray entering a plea.

Both Murray and Hixon were arrested on November 16 by state police Trooper Michael Davis after the little girl was taken to the emergency room of Fulton County Medical Center earlier in the month for treatment of injuries.

“The medical staff observed injuries consistent with abuse and neglect,” said Trooper Davis in his report. Upon his arrival at the hospital he reported he personally witnessed “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 strap-type 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 indicate.

“Hixon related that when the victim arrived (on November 2) he observed a bump on the victim’s forehead and slight bruising on her face. He related on the evening of November 3, the victim’s eyes began to swell ... He related the victim struck her head off the toilet,” alleged the arresting officer in the affidavit.

Hixon reportedly went on to tell police he helped subdue the girl while her eyes were being flushed to reduce the swelling. “ ... The victim was fighting and resisting so he had to hold her very hard ... Hixon also related he had to use his body weight to help subdue the victim,” stated the affidavit.

Some of the additional bruising found on the girl’s body was explained by Murray as being connected to a fall and from playing outside. The loss of hair was allegedly linked to hair clippers used by another juvenile. Additional injuries such as blood in the ears and the infected sore were also discussed by police with the couple.

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