Prison ordered in abuse of W. Manchester Twp. toddler
A man who police said assaulted his girlfriend's 3-year-old son until the boy was unconscious must serve prison time, but the tot's mother has avoided jail for allowing it to happen. She also had been accused of assaulting her son, but that charge was dropped as part of a plea agreement.
Travis Justin Boone was living on Yorktowne Drive in West Manchester Township with Elisha Armold on Aug. 13, 2014, when he came out of their apartment about 9:45 p.m. holding Armold's unresponsive son and asking whether anyone was a nurse, court documents state. Armold wasn't home at the time, police said.
A neighbor who is an emergency medical technician examined the toddler and noticed his eyes weren't "tracking" properly, documents state. The EMT also noticed bruises on the child's jaw and cheek, a scrape on his nose and dried blood on the side of his mouth, police said. The child took two deep breaths, began to cry and said his head hurt, according to police.
The EMT reported to police that Boone "changed his story" at the scene about how the toddler suffered the injuries.
When asked which hospital the child should be transported to, Boone "stated that he did not want the child to go to the hospital," according to court documents.
Bruises: The boy was taken to York Hospital, where he became unconscious again, police said. A nurse told officers she took more than 300 photos of bruises on the boy's body, including his face, back, arms, legs and ear, according to police.
The boy also suffered bleeding in his brain and was flown to Hershey Medical Center by medical helicopter, documents state.
West Manchester Township Detective David Bixler interviewed Armold at York Hospital and said it took her about 90 minutes before "she began to open up and stated that she had seen the defendant punch the victim in the head twice," two days earlier, documents state.
"She also advised that she had witnessed him punch and kick the child as well as pick him up and throw him," according to documents.
Boone would become "enraged" when the boy would soil his diaper, and would beat him and "then make him sit on the floor all day not allowing him to play or get up," documents state.
What mother said: Armold admitted she saw Boone kick her son in the stomach on several occasions, as well as punch him and slap him, police said.
She told police Boone was very controlling toward her, documents state.
Armold admitted she hit the boy harder than she should have but denied noticing the numerous bruises that were seen on the boy at York Hospital, documents state.
The child at some point indicated his mother "used a lighter to burn the hair off of his back," documents state.
During his interview with police, Boone denied hurting the child, saying the toddler "is clumsy and always falls down," according to court documents.
Ambulances 'cost money': He denied telling neighbors he didn't want the child to go to the hospital, but when asked why he didn't call for an ambulance right way, "he stated because it cost money," documents state.
Eventually, Boone admitted to punching the tot twice and throwing him onto the couch, but he said that was done in play, according to police.
But defense attorney Shane Kope said Boone maintains he didn't assault the boy — that Armold did.
"My client's position is that his responsibility went as far as his negligence," Kope said. "It was his belief, and I tend to agree with him, that ... if he would've gotten in front of a jury, the jury (would have convicted)."
Boone, 34, appeared in York County Court April 12 and pleaded no contest to one count of felony aggravated assault, according to court records. His current address in unknown; he did not fill out that address portion of his guilty-plea form.
Prison ordered: As part of a negotiated plea agreement, he was sentenced to three to six years in state prison and given credit for the more than 600 days he's already served, court records state. Boone is forbidden to have contact with the child, according to records; Kope said Boone and Armold are no longer involved.
Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office, said prosecutors agreed to the no-contest plea because Boone has ongoing mental-health issues.
Kope said while his client does struggle with mental-health issues, Boone pleaded no contest because he doesn't admit to assaulting the toddler.
King said his office was not at liberty to discuss the boy's current condition, and Kope said he doesn't know how the boy is doing.
Probation for mom: Armold, 26, now of Elizabethtown, pleaded guilty April 12 to endangering the welfare of a child; in exchange, a simple assault charge was dismissed. She was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to take parenting classes.
She was given a plea agreement because she cooperated with prosecutors in Boone's criminal case, according to King.
Armold's attorney, public defender Alisa Livaditis, did not return phone messages seeking comment.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.