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Trinity Moon

Father Arrested In 1-Year-Old Girl's Death

Trinity Moon Died After Being Burned With Boiling Water

POSTED: 11:34 am EDT May 7, 2008
UPDATED: 6:02 pm EDT May 7, 2008

A Beaver County father is under arrest Wednesday in the death of a 1-year-old girl.
Trinity Moon died on April 19 after being burned with boiling water and receiving third-degree burns over 50 percent of her body.
Police said there was a domestic dispute between Troy Moon and the baby’s mother, 31-year-old Delonda Tucker, when Troy hit a pot of boiling water and it spilled onto Trinity.
Tucker originally told police that she tripped over the baby in a walker while carrying the pot of boiling water in the kitchen. Officials said she made up the story because she was afraid her other child would be taken from her.
Troy Moon was charged with criminal homicide and is in the Beaver County Jail with no bond.
Tucker has not been charged.
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Man who used cattle prod on infant pleads guilty
Tuesday, May 01, 2007

SOMERSET, Pa. -- A man pleaded guilty but mentally ill to abusing his infant daughter, including snapping her leg and shocking her with an electric cattle prod.

Brandon Austill, 21, of Somerset, entered the plea to six counts each of aggravated and simple assault, eight of reckless endangerment and child endangerment and related offenses yesterday.

"I have a lot of mental illness," Mr. Austill told Somerset County President Judge John Cascio. Mr. Austill said he is taking antidepressants and anti-hallucinogens.

The abuse took place between Sept. 11 -- four days after the girl was born -- and Oct. 31. She sustained two breaks to the left leg, a broken forearm, facial injuries and two skull fractures. She is now in foster care.

By pleading guilty but mentally ill, Mr. Austill could initially be placed into a mental institution for treatment, then serve the rest of his sentence in jail, Judge Cascio said. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 3.

Dad Who Beat Baby Girl Gets Up To 30 Years

POSTED: 11:42 am EDT July 4, 2007
UPDATED: 11:52 am EDT July 4, 2007

A Somerset man who pleaded guilty but mentally ill in a case of child abuse was sentenced Tuesday to 7 1/2 to 30 years in prison.

Brandon Austill, 21, admitted that he broke his newborn daughter's leg, smashed her head into a sink and shocked her with a cattle prod, according to authorities.

The girl was just four days old when the abuse began, police said. It's unclear if she is in foster care or has been returned to her mother.
 
According to a psychologist, Austill suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, stemming from abuse suffered as a child.

Austill will receive psychiatric care in prison.

"This is probably your last chance," Somerset County Judge John Cascio told Austill at sentencing.

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Daniyah Rest In Peace

Troy Hill infant police allege was beaten and raped dies

By Tony LaRussa
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, November 18, 2007

A 10-month-old Troy Hill girl who police said was beaten and sexually assaulted by her mother's live-in boyfriend died Saturday afternoon.

Daniyah Jackson had been on life support since the assault late Thursday night at a home on Herman Street. Police said Jackson had severe bruising to her face, arms and legs and that she was bitten on the chest.

A family member declined to comment last evening.

Clinton Smith, 30, is in the Allegheny County Jail without bond on charges including aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, rape and endangering a child, according to an arrest affidavit. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in City Court.

An autopsy is expected to be conducted today, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office. Jackson died at 3:34 p.m. Saturday at Children's Hospital in Oakland.

If the autopsy determines that Jackson was the victim of a homicide, Smith likely will face additional charges, Pittsburgh police said.

Jackson's mother told investigators she left her home shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday to go to her job as a waitress. She said Smith was left in charge of the baby girl and his 2-year-old son, according to the affidavit.

The mother worked until 9:30 p.m. and came home to find the baby unresponsive, police said. The infant began having a seizure and went into cardiac arrest.

Jackson's mother called paramedics, who gave the infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation and called homicide detectives.

Doctors at Allegheny General Hospital, where Jackson first was taken, told detectives she was not breathing when she was brought in and that she had been sexually assaulted. She was transferred later that evening to Children's.

Smith was awaiting trial on an unrelated June charge of simple assault, court records show. In a separate September 2006 case, a woman who has a 2-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son with Smith was granted a protection-from-abuse order against him after she said he came to her home and attacked her and their daughter.

Tony LaRussa can be reached at tlarussa@tribweb.com or 412-320-7987

Sent: 3/14/2007 2:58 PM

A one-armed teenager managed to transform a Center City mall’s extra-large bathroom stall into his very own pedophile haven where, cops say, he sexually assaulted his 6-year-old niece on Monday.

The little girl - clad in a navy- blue uniform - lay stiff on the floor as her uncle knelt below her with his face between her legs, witnesses said.

His jeans, the witnesses said, were pulled down around his thighs.

The horror took place inside the second-floor men’s restroom near the food court at the Shops at Liberty Place on Chestnut Street near 16th, police said.

Witnesses said there were a half dozen people in the restroom at the time, but only one man alerted a mall worker.

The 19-year-old uncle, who is missing his left arm, was quickly arrested and charged with rape, statutory sexual assault, false imprisonment and other crimes, police said.

The girl was treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and released to relatives, police said.

“It was a sick thing to see,” said mall housekeeper Roland Harris, 57, who led police to the girl.

Harris said there had been a handful of guys in the restroom during the attack. However, he said, only one ran up to him to tell him what was going on.

The housekeeper said he raced into the stall and saw the little girl “stretched out on the floor.”

“I shouted, ‘What the hell are you doing to this little girl?’ ” said Harris.

Harris asked a co-worker, Sami Arrington, 29, who ran into the restroom behind him, to guard the uncle while Harris ran to the nearby food court to find a cop.

Arrington said he watched in disgust as the teen struggled to buckle up his pants.

Arrington said he had yelled at the teen, “What are you doing?” He said the little girl was sitting on a toilet seat sobbing.

“I am not raping her,” Arrington said the defendant had told him. “I was helping her to use the bathroom.”

Police said it wasn’t the first time the teen had attacked the child.

“He had the confidence and trust of this little girl,” Darby said, “and we believe that he molested this child more than once.”

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Allegheny DA calls for teen to be sent to juvenile court

By Jill King Greenwood and Bob Kerlik
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, August 4, 2007

An Elizabeth Township girl charged with killing her father with a shotgun blast to the face should not be tried as an adult, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said Friday.

Rachel Booth's defense attorney, Patrick Nightingale, and Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli submitted court papers seeking to have the homicide case transferred to juvenile court. Common Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani is scheduled to rule on their request Tuesday.

Booth, 13, waived a preliminary hearing on a homicide charge and was moved from the county jail -- where she was housed in a medical ward -- to a psychiatric hospital, as ordered by a judge.

Zappala toured the house in which she is accused of killing Matthew Booth Sr., 34, and said he was "disgusted" by what he saw.

Rachel Booth was forced to sleep on a couch "none of us would even put in our homes," said Zappala, who described a filthy house in which the toilets were backed up, the smell was "incredible" and most of the furniture was broken. There was a computer in the home -- Rachel was a 7th grade student with the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School -- but it was covered in dust, investigators said.

"I'm consulting the Health Department, and if it's up to me, that house is coming down and no one is ever going to live inside there again," Zappala said.

Booth is accused of killing her father early Monday as he slept in a first-floor bedroom. She told neighbors and investigators that her father sexually and physically abused her for years.

Judge Jeffrey A. Manning ordered that she be sent to Shuman Juvenile Detention Center after her evaluation at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Oakland. Judge Kim Clark appointed Kids Voice, a child advocacy organization, as the girl's guardian until a dependency hearing Aug. 29. Her brother, Matthew Booth Jr., 14, also could have a hearing that day, Clark said.

Matthew Booth Jr., who lived with Rachel and her father, is staying with grandparents.

Zappala said Rachel "is as much a victim as she is a possible perpetrator of a crime. The question remaining in my mind is, did she take someone else's life or was she trying to save her own?"

Zappala said detectives are reconstructing the last six years of her life and have paperwork documenting years of physical and sexual abuse. He said mental health professionals are treating the girl and will give detectives a "better idea of what exactly this child has been through in her life."

"The county child protection agency has been involved with this family for years, and as far as why Rachel was left in this home as long as she was, (Children, Youth and Families) is going to have to answer some questions," he said.

Officials at CYF have said privacy restrictions prohibit comment about the case. Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School did not return calls for comment.

At Boston Stitchery, where Rachel Booth worked, owner Deb Sherer, 56, said the girl left a phone message on her machine yesterday saying that she's doing fine, "that she missed me, and to tell everybody that comes in the store that she's OK." Booth told her she is happy her case is moving to juvenile court.

Sherer said she met Booth a month ago when she and her father asked Sherer to teach Rachel to sew. She spent most days there learning to stitch and working odd jobs for a few dollars, Sherer said.

"She's very talented and very smart," Sherer said. "She'd come here and read and talk to customers."

Sherer said Booth was wallpapering and decorating a rear powder room in the shop that would be her area.

"She was in the process of fixing it up. Now I know she wanted to make a place pretty for herself."

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Judge Grants Sole Custody of 9-year-old Girl To Father
by Kiran Krishnamurthy

SPOTSYLVANIA -- A judge granted sole custody of a girl to her father after a medical expert testified yesterday to believing the man physically and sexually abused the child.

"It's unconscionable," the girl's mother, Tina Wilson, said after the hearing in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court.

Wilson said she would appeal the ruling to the Virginia Court of Appeals.

J. Bruce Strickland, the father's attorney, had previously argued Wilson has engaged in Parental Alienation Syndrome, which describes how a parent can brainwash a child into becoming indifferent or hostile to the other parent and, sometimes, manufacturing abuse allegations.

The syndrome has not been accepted formally by the medical establishment.

Circuit Judge Ernest P. Gates, a retired judge from Chesterfield County appointed to hear the case, ruled that a "material change of circumstances" occurred because of Wilson's repeated allegations that the father abused the 9-year-old girl and because Wilson had moved from the Fredericksburg area to Henrico County.

The Times-Dispatch is not naming the father to protect the girl's identity. Wilson has changed her last name.

Richard Ducote, Wilson's attorney, said after the hearing that Gates' ruling, and similar ones by other judges, puts Wilson and other parents who suspect abuse in an untenable situation.

"If she suspects abuse and doesn't report it, she's an unfit mother. If she reports it, this happens," he said.

Another attorney in a separate child-custody case arising in Hanover County and now on appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court argues parents should not be penalized for acting in what they consider their children's best interests.

That attorney, Cullen Seltzer, also contends the state's high court needs to clarify a provision in state law that permits a judge to consider, when determining custody, whether a parent supports a child's contact and relationship with the other parent.

In yesterday's Spotsylvania case, the judge said he thought the father would be supportive of the child's relationship with Wilson, but he said she would not be similarly supportive. Wilson last June violated a court order by taking the child to a domestic-violence shelter because she said she feared for the girl's safety.

"The hatred that she has for the father has compromised the child's needs," Gates said, adding that the girl seems to thrive in her father's custody.

The hearing came after Gates in November ordered a psychiatric evaluation of the girl.

Dr. Sheila Furey, a Hopewell child psychiatrist paid by Wilson, testified yesterday that she believes the father verbally, physically and sexually abused the girl and that the child would be in jeopardy if she lives with him.

The father has been convicted of domestic abuse against Wilson, but she still agreed to shared custody. She later made the child-abuse allegations.

Furey testified the girl likely performed better in school while living with her father because she feared him, while the girl acted up when living with Wilson.

"Acting out will occur in a place where they feel safe," Furey testified.

The judge allowed Strickland, the father's attorney, to reopen testimony after its conclusion so the father could answer the child-abuse allegations from the witness stand. The father denied the allegations, and the judge determined them unfounded.

"It's the right ruling," Strickland said afterward. "This case is probably going to continue, which is not good" for the girl.

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Rest in Peace and Warmth
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Nyia

Frozen toddler's father also faces sex charge

 February 8, 2007

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP) -- A man angry his toddler daughter wouldn't go to bed knocked her unconscious and left her to die outside in single-digit temperatures, police said.

The frozen body of Nyia Miangel Page, who was about to turn 2, was found Sunday at an abandoned playground about a 10-minute walk from the family's home.

Tiny footprints in the snow suggest she had gotten up and wandered around before she died, police said.

Her father, William Lorenzo Page, 23, of Braddock, was arrested Wednesday on charges of criminal homicide, kidnapping, false reports and simple assault.

He has been in custody since Sunday, when he was charged with sexually abusing another child shortly before Nyia died.

Page, who did not have an attorney at his arraignment Thursday morning, was jailed without bond.

Page told police he woke up early Saturday and found the girl awake and playing near a mirror in the hallway, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday night. He said he got angry when the girl wouldn't go back to bed and he hit her so hard she lost consciousness, the complaint said.

Police said Page told them he took the girl outside wrapped in a blanket and left her, still breathing, beside railroad tracks near a bridge.

Police said a T-shirt, a pair of women's underwear and a Pittsburgh Steelers "Terrible Towel," all found in Page's basement, appeared to have bloodstains.

An autopsy determined Nyia died of hypothermia, but the Allegheny County medical examiner ruled the death a homicide because investigators said it was unreasonable to assume the child had made it alone to the playground, which is on a wooded knoll.

The toddler would need to have climbed 17 snowy steps to get there.

Authorities could only guess how long Nyia, wearing only a sweater and a diaper, could have survived in temperatures that hovered around 2 degrees Saturday morning.

"Given her size, she would have been rendered incapacitated very quickly," Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl E. Williams said Thursday. "She'd been out so long, when we found her she was frozen."

A witness saw Page enter his house Saturday morning from the direction where his daughter was found, police said.

He was back out on the street about an hour later, saying he was looking for the girl and telling the witness, "Somebody took my daughter," according to a criminal complaint.

Nyia's mother told police she last saw the girl after Nyia tried to crawl into bed with her parents about 12:30 a.m. Saturday. The mother told police she put the youngster back into her own bed in an upstairs room.

Police, emergency crews and bloodhounds searched in 20-degree temperatures for most of two days before finding the little girl's body.

The sexual abuse charge against Page came as police investigated Nyia's disappearance.

Police said another child in the house told investigators that sometime overnight Friday, Page entered a bedroom, covered the child's mouth with one hand and touched the child's genitals with the other. The child said Page then left the room, followed by Nyia, police said.

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