Prison for 'brutal' attack on West York woman

Liz Evans Scolforo

A Harrisburg man who brutally attacked his girlfriend, then tried to intimidate her into not testifying against him, got his wish Monday in York County Court.

Brison Farmer

"If you send me upstate ... it would honestly be a death sentence for me," Brison Farmer told presiding Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook during his sentencing hearing Monday morning. "Please do not send me upstate."

Prosecutors asked Cook to impose a state-prison sentence, which would be a minimum sentence of one to two years, while public defender Joshua Neiderhiser requested a sentence of intensive probation with perhaps some house arrest.

The judge imposed a sentence between those two ranges — a year minus a day to two years minus two days in York County Prison, plus two years of probation. Cook also ordered Farmer to pay court costs and $2,951 in restitution.

Farmer, 26, pleaded guilty April 1 to intimidating a witness, making terroristic threats, simple assault, indecent assault using forcible compulsion, access-device fraud, criminal mischief and receiving stolen property.

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It was part of an open plea, but one in which prosecutors agreed to drop charges including rape, aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

The allegations: West York Police allege Farmer attacked a woman in her West York home on Aug. 12, and said he "brutally" assaulted her over a period of a couple of hours. Police said the woman's children were home at the time.

Farmer repeatedly punched, kicked and slapped her; refused to let her leave her home; and forced her to perform oral sex on him while he punched her in the head and back, according to court documents.

He allegedly told the woman he intended to beat her all night long, then whipped her with a ceiling-fan pull-chain and scratched and squeezed her breasts until they bled, police said.

Farmer left, but he returned to the woman's home five days later, at which point he held a steak knife inches from her face while threatening to kill her, court documents state. He also physically assaulted her again, police said.

A medical report from York Hospital stated the woman suffered numerous injuries from head to foot, according to police. They described the mess he left behind at the woman's home as "a whirlwind of destruction."

Nightmares: Farmer's victim, now his ex-girlfriend, spoke in court about the extent of her injuries, which included ruptured veins and a blood clot, and also spoke about the pain, anxiety and depression she endured afterward.

"Since the incident, my children have been experiencing nightmares," she said.

She also said Farmer bragged to her that he can "get away with everything" because he was an informant for the York County Drug Task Force.

"He just feels he is untouchable," the woman said.

It's apparently Farmer's former informant status that caused him to tell the judge that going upstate would be a death sentence for him.

Deputy prosecutor Kara Bowser told the judge that on Sunday, the victim received Facebook messages from a "Rock Jones," who she believes is Farmer. Those messages urged her to "forget about everything" and suggested, "Let's run away together."

'You miss me': Another message stated, "I know for a fact you miss me," Bowser told the judge.

Neiderhiser said Farmer maintains he didn't write those messages and maintains he didn't rape the woman.

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Senior deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy said whether Farmer is a police informant or not had nothing to do with the open plea that was agreed upon. He declined to discuss why the rape charge was dropped but said he spoke with the victim about it beforehand.

Neiderhiser said it's because there were holes in the victim's account.

Murphy said he's disappointed with the sentence and was hoping Farmer would receive state prison time.

Judge Cook also sentenced Farmer to an extra two years of probation on his unrelated cocaine-dealing case.

He must report to York County Prison on July 22.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.