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January trial possible for York man accused of murdering 2-year-old Dante Mullinix

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A two-week murder trial in York County Court for the man accused of killing 2-year-old Dante Mullinix in 2018 is now expected to happen in January after being postponed earlier this month.

Tyree Marche'll Bowie, 41, of Linden Avenue in York City, remains in York County Prison without bail, charged with first- and third-degree murder and child endangerment.

He and defense attorney Farley Holt maintain his innocence, as do Bowie's family and some of Dante's own relatives, who blame his mother.

Leah Mullinix, 23, is not charged in her son's death but remains charged with third-degree felony child endangerment. Her next pretrial conference is scheduled for Aug. 6.

Dante Mullinix

She previously told The York Dispatch that her family is blinded by their hate for her. She said that police and prosecutors reviewed the evidence and believe Bowie is to blame for Dante's death.

Bowie appeared in York County Court on Tuesday, where chief deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy told Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook that "we've been in kind of a holding pattern, waiting for the defense's expert."

Expert is overseas: Holt explained that Dr. David Fowler — a forensic pathologist who is Maryland's former chief medical examiner — is now a professor in England at the University of Oxford and is trying to return to the United States amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I actually need to sit down with him in person," Holt told the judge, adding that Fowler anticipates being back in the U.S. by Aug. 1.

"We don't have a report as of yet," Holt said, meaning Fowler's report on his opinion of autopsy findings.

Cook and the attorneys spoke about holding the trial in January, although Cook said the case will likely have to be reassigned to a new judge.

"I don't think in my first week as (York County's) president judge it would be good for me to take on (a two-week trial)," she said. "I will discuss that with court administration and the rest of the (judges), as to who might be available."

Cook said she will ask whichever judge takes over the case to schedule a status hearing in November.

Tyree Bowie

The background: York City Police allege Bowie fatally injured Dante while watching the boy Sept. 6, 2018.

They allege Mullinix endangered her son by leaving him in the care of Bowie — a man she'd only known for two or three weeks.

Bowie's criminal record includes a 2008 guilty plea in York County Court to child endangerment and a 2019 guilty plea in Dauphin County Court to fleeing police and driving under the influence. He also has been accused of assault in the past.

Police say Mullinix also endangered her son by neglecting to treat him for a painful genital infection.

Court documents state she waited two days to fill a prescription for medication to treat Dante's balanitis, an infection caused by improper hygiene.

Staff members at the shelter where Mullinix and Dante were staying reported that Dante had been screaming in pain, according to police.

Shelter reported mom: On Sept. 1, the shelter filed a child abuse report with the state alleging Mullinix wasn't caring for her son, police said. On Sept. 2, 2018, York County's Office of Children, Youth and Families made Mullinix fill the prescriptions, court documents state.

Leah Mullinix

Police said shelter staff had to show Mullinix how to use the medication, and the staff had to administer it themselves.

"I did not ever neglect or abuse my child. I loved my son," Mullinix told The York Dispatch in April 2019. "I understand why the charges were filed against me. But at the end of the day, I'm not the real perpetrator."

York City Police Detective Kyle Hower previously testified at Bowie's preliminary hearing that Dante died Sept. 14, 2018 — a week before his third birthday. The tot died at Hershey Medical Center after being transferred there from York Hospital.

Bowie and Dante dropped off Mullinix at York Hospital at 8:25 p.m. Sept. 6, 2018, after she complained of a migraine, according to Hower. Security video shows she didn't leave the hospital for the next few hours, Hower said.

Bowie had picked up Mullinix and Dante that day from the shelter, testimony revealed.

Hower said Bowie gave him conflicting stories about what happened after that. He said Bowie told him Dante choked on cookies and became unresponsive near the corner of South George and Maple streets, then later said the choking episode happened in a Manchester Township home on Lexton Drive.

Seen on video: Bowie said he and Dante stopped at the Rutter's Farm Store at 2125 Susquehanna Trail, according to Hower, who viewed security video from the store.

That video, recorded about 8:39 p.m., showed Dante was able to walk on his own, the detective said, adding that Bowie was the only person caring for Dante from the time his mother was dropped off at York Hospital until he became unresponsive.

Dante Mullinix was two weeks shy of his third birthday when he was killed.

Dauphin County-based forensic pathologist Dr. Wayne Ross testified at Bowie's preliminary hearing that Dante died of severe traumatic brain injury as well as strangulation and chest compression.

There were bruises on the boy's scalp and all over his body, as well as bleeding on both sides of his brain and at the base of his brain, Ross testified.

Ross said Dante didn't have those injuries at the time he was filmed on Rutter's security video, walking on his own, with Bowie.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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