Category Archives: Physical Abuse

One of the 5 forms of Child Abuse

Justice For Leiliana

.jpg photo of a little girl that probably didn't have many good days in her life.
Leiliana Wright

‘You should die in a locked closet,’ judge
tells man convicted in savage beating
death of 4-year-old

A Grand Prairie man was convicted of capital murder in the “savage” beating death of his girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter in a case the judge said was the worst he’d ever seen.

The Children Pay This Tab

Charles Wayne Phifer, 36, received an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole for the March 2016 murder of Leiliana Wright.

CPS Failed Leiliana Wright

Leiliana was beaten with a bamboo switch and belts and thrown against a wall.  Her mother, 33-year-old Jeri Quezada, pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child as part of a plea agreement that will lock her behind bars for 50 years.

CPS Ignored Possible Sexual Abuse Of Leiliana

Quezada will be formally sentenced by the judge Wednesday, and relatives will have the chance to give a victim impact statement at that time to both Quezada and Phifer.

Child Abuse Registry Needed

Quezada testified against Phifer, who she said bound Leiliana’s hands behind her back and strung the little girl up in a closet.

I Let Leiliana Wright Down

State District Judge Robert Burns told Phifer that life behind bars was insufficient for what Leiliana suffered.

“I think this is the worst case I’ve ever seen,” Burns told Phifer.

“Hanging a little girl in a locked closet was savage.  You should die in a locked closet,” the judge said.

Jurors deliberated for about four hours before delivering the guilty verdict.

Many were visibly shaken during the three days of testimony, during which they were shown photos of Leiliana’s battered body.

The little girl was covered from head to toe in bruises and had at least 30 bruises on her back from where she was whipped.

Defense attorneys John Tatum and Stephen Miller argued that Quezada is a liar who was trying to save herself by blaming Phifer for her daughter’s death.

“She set Charles up because that was the only way to get out of this,” Miller said.

Leiliana’s death exposed a staffing crisis in Child Protective Services. The girl’s paternal grandparents reported possible abuse to the state agency months before she was killed.

Quezada was a known drug user and had run-ins with child protection authorities in Texas and Illinois, where she received probation for hitting her stepson.

Quezada had five children, including Leiliana, with three different men.  The surviving four children are living with relatives.

“Charles Phifer does not have any motive to hurt or do anything to this child,” Miller said.  “He’s living in a house rent free with no obligations.  Why would he screw that up?”

“She’s the one who keeps having kids she doesn’t want,” he said.

A medical report presented by defense attorneys shows that Leiliana had bruises on her body at least a month before her death.  Defense counsel argued that the prior abuse shows Quezada was responsible for her girl’s death.

During trial, Quezada admitted that she would sometimes hit her daughter.  She said she used a switch made from bamboo to strike the little girl’s legs.

Prosecutors Eren Price and Travis Wiles argued that Quezada and Phifer were responsible for Leiliana’s death but that Phifer was the one who was alone with the child for hours the day of her deadly beating.

Price disputed the defense counsel’s accusation that Quezada was simply saving herself by pinning Leiliana’s death on Phifer.

“I’m not sure the next 50 years in prison can be considered saving your own skin,” Price argued.

The prosecutor said someone needed to shed light on what happened to Leiliana, and Quezada’s story was backed up by evidence.

A strand of the girl’s hair was found embedded in the wall where Quezada said Phifer threw the girl.  Leiliana’s DNA was also found on gloves used by Phifer, a DNA expert testified during the trial.

Quezada said she saw her daughter vomit in the living room and then Phifer put on gloves, grab the girl by her cheeks, lift her from the ground and pour Pedialyte down the child’s throat.

The mother also said Phifer showed her where he had tied up Leiliana in a dark, tiny closet in the living room.  Leiliana’s wrists were bound behind her body and she was “strung up” so she couldn’t sit.

“There’s nothing warm and fuzzy about this story,” Wiles said during closing arguments.  “The last loving arms that reached out for Leiliana Wright were the strong, loving arms of a stranger.”

During the trial, a paramedic who tried to save Leiliana cried recounting how badly bruised the little girl was.

Wiles said Quezada’s story about the 48 hours or so before Leiliana’s death is corroborated by cellphone records.

Those records showed Quezada was away with her youngest child for much of the day.  She testified she went with her family to eat at an Arlington steakhouse that night.  Quezada’s mother confirmed.

Leiliana stayed with Phifer.

“This man was trusted not just with her care but her life, and he took it,” Wiles argued.

Quezada returned to the Grand Prairie home after 9 p.m.  She said that when she got there, her first concern was using heroin with Phifer.

She later asked about Leiliana, and that’s when she discovered her daughter was in the closet.

“In life, Leiliana Wright deserved peace.  In her death, she deserves justice,” Wiles said.

80 Percent Of The Time

.jpg photo of man accused of abusing two children
Jacob John Weld, 29, of Petoskey

Petoskey man facing sexual assault,
Child Abuse charges

PETOSKEY, MI  –  A Petoskey area man is facing multiple felony charges in connection with allegations that he sexually and physically abused two young children, respectively.

Jacob John Weld, 29, of Petoskey was arrested last week on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.  The charge is a felony which carries a maximum penalty of up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.  He was arrested on the afternoon of Oct. 10 on the charge.

At the time of his arrest on the sexual assault charges he was out of jail on bond following an Oct. 1 arrest on a charge of third-degree child abuse.  That charge is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison.

According to a Michigan State Police affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, the sexual assault charges stem from allegations that Weld sexually assaulted a young child at a home in Emmet County on at least two occasions in August and September of this year.  Police said the child came forward with the allegation on Oct. 8.  Police further said in the affidavit that when they interviewed Weld, he admitted to the actions with the child leading to the sexual assault charges.

In the child abuse case, Weld is accused of causing injury to a different young child.

In that case, Emmet County Sheriff’s Office deputies said in an affidavit of probable cause that the case was initially referred to police from a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services representative who was investigating a child abuse complaint. In the affidavit, police said the alleged abuse happened on or around Sept. 23. Police said an adult noticed bruising on the back of the child’s leg on Sept. 29. Police said the child reported having been spanked with a belt by Weld.
Police said when they interviewed Weld he said he “probably used a belt to spank (the child).”

Weld was originally released from jail on Oct. 1 after posting a $50,000 surety bond. But he now remains lodged in the Emmet County Jail in connection with the sexual assault case, for which a new bond has been set at $2 million.

Weld is slated to face preliminary examinations in both cases on Oct. 24 in 90th District Court.

Don’t Do This, You Gave NIMW It’s Start

.jpg photo of graphic of Google+ announcement of closing
Google announced that it will shut down the consumer version of Google+ following the discovery of a bug that it opted to keep secret.

Google+ to shut down following bug that
exposed 500K profiles

Google yesterday announced that it will shut down the consumer version of Google+ following the discovery of a bug that it opted to keep secret.

In a blog post, the search giant framed the decision as one that makes sense given that very few people actively use Google+—”90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds,” writes Ben Smith, a Google Fellow and VP of Engineering—and it doesn’t warrant the work required to keep tabs on developers.

But as the Wall Street Journal reports, the move comes after Google discovered a bug that left private user information open to developers in March, but declined to alert users for fear of regulatory scrutiny.

“A memo reviewed by the Journal prepared by Google’s legal and policy staff and shared with senior executives warned that disclosing the incident would likely trigger ‘immediate regulatory interest’ and invite comparisons to Facebook’s leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica,” the Journal says.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly knew about the plan to forego notification.

In the blog post, Smith says Google discovered the bug in March as part of Project Strobe—”a root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of our philosophy around apps’ data access.”

The bug, according to Google, meant that third-party apps had access to “profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public,” like name, email address, occupation, gender, and age. Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers, or G Suite content were not accessible.

“We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused,” Smith says.

The bug, which Google patched in March, affected about 500,000 Google+ users. Was yours one of those accounts?  Sorry, there’s no way to tell.

“We made Google+ with privacy in mind and therefore keep this API’s log data for only two weeks,” according to Smith.  “That means we cannot confirm which users were impacted by this bug.”

According to Smith, the vulnerability didn’t rise to the level of requiring a notification.  “Every year, we send millions of notifications to users about privacy and security bugs and issues.  Whenever user data may have been affected, we go beyond our legal requirements and apply several criteria focused on our users in determining whether to provide notice,” he says.

It remains to be seen if regulators agree.  Uber kept a 2016 data breach secret, and that just resulted in a $148 million fine.

The Google+ shutdown, meanwhile, will occur over the next 10 months, so get your fill before August 2019.  If you use the service for work, though, Google+ is not going anywhere.

“Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network,” Smith says.  “Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organization.  We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses.  We will share more information in the coming days.”

As part of the announcement, Google also promised to give users “more fine-grained control over what account data they choose to share with each app.”  If an app wants access to a Calendar and Drive documents, for example, you can opt to share one but not the other.

Google will also “limit the apps that may seek permission to access your consumer Gmail data,” while Google Play will limit which apps that can ask for a user’s phone (including call logs) and SMS data.

Kentucky Toddler Beat With Leash

.jpg photo of Kentucky toddler beat with dog leash
Jaxsin Fellows is pictured one week after an alleged beating that Jaxsin’s father says involved a dog leash.

`Dad says dog leash used in NKY Child
Abuse case.  Investigator calls it ‘worst
I’ve seen’

Boone County, KY  –  A dog leash was used to whip a 3-year-old boy in Northern Kentucky, according to the boy’s father.

Jaxsin Fellows suffered facial abrasions, a swollen eye and chipped teeth.  He needed five stitches.

His father, Nick Fellows of Erlanger, Kentucky, said his son’s mother, Karen Spurlock, told him a dog leash was used in the beating.

Spurlock and her boyfriend, Shane C. Sasher, face criminal abuse and second-degree assault charges in the incident.  They initially blamed the boy’s injuries on a fall down stairs, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office said.

The pair “thought he was deceased” the morning after the alleged assault, the sheriff’s office said.

Sgt. Philip Ridgell said he and other investigators were appalled by what they discovered.

“In my experience, it’s one of the worst (cases) I’ve seen,” Ridgell said.

Jaxsin’s paternal grandmother, Diane Fellows, established a GoFundMe account to defray medical and rehabilitation bills as well as future legal bills for custody of Jaxsin.

More than $1,200 has been raised toward a $10,000 goal.

Nick Fellows said he also hopes to donate to another family suffering similarly and to ProKids.org of Cincinnati, which works to break the “vicious cycle of child abuse and neglect.”

Jaxsin had been staying with his mother and Sasher in the 10000 block of Irish Way in Union, Kentucky at the time he was beaten, according to Ridgell.

On Sept. 18, medical professionals at St. Elizabeth Edgewood notified law enforcement that Jaxsin had “significant facial injuries consistent with abuse,” including abrasions and contusions beneath his eyes and to his forehead, temples and cheeks.

Over the course of a three-day probe, the sheriff’s office said, investigators learned the boy was alone in the residence with Spurlock and Sasher the night before.
After suffering separate assaults, the sheriff’s office said, the victim was given Motrin and put to bed.  Spurlock and Sasher attempted to wake him up the next morning, and before he awoke they believed he may be dead.

Detectives found inconsistencies in their statements, according to authorities. Spurlock said Sasher told her not to report the initial injuries the boy suffered from the first assault.

Neither Spurlock nor Sasher has confessed to meting out the abuse, Ridgell said. They’re charged equally because they were the only ones in the home when the alleged abuse occurred.

Spurlock and Sasher’s bonds were set at $100,000, Ridgell said.  They remain in custody at the Boone County Jail.

A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 1.

KY Mother And Boyfriend Abuse Toddler

.jpg photo of man charged with abusing toddler
Shane Sasher, was charged Friday with abusing a 3-year-old child.

Two people assaulted 3-year-old, thought he was dead the next morning, police say

BOONE COUNTY, KY  –  Two Northern Kentuckians were arrested Friday for allegedly abusing a 3-year-old child, according to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

.jpg photo of mother charged with abusing toddler
Karen Spurlock was charged Friday with abusing a 3-year-old child.

Shane C. Sasher and Karen Spurlock face criminal abuse and second-degree assault charges in incidents that left a boy badly beaten.  The pair “thought he was deceased” the next morning, according to the sheriff’s office.

The boy, Spurlock’s son, lived with his mother and Sasher in the 10000 block of Irish Way in Union, Kentucky.

On Tuesday, medical professionals at St. Elizabeth Edgewood notified law enforcement that the boy had “significant facial injuries consistent with abuse,” including abrasions and contusions beneath his eyes and to his forehead, temples and cheeks.

The victim’s left eye was swollen shut.

Over the course of a three-day probe, the sheriff’s office said, investigators learned the boy was alone in the residence with Spurlock and Sasher the night before.

After suffering separate assaults, the sheriff’s office said, the victim was given Motrin and put to bed.  Spurlock and Sasher attempted to wake him up the next morning, and before he awoke they believed he may be dead.

They later took him to the hospital, blaming the injuries on a fall down stairs, the sheriff’s office said.

Detectives found inconsistencies in their statements, according to authorities. Spurlock said Sasher told her not to report the initial injuries the boy suffered from the first assault.

The child is now in the custody of a relative.

Sgt. Philip Ridgell, a spokesman for the Boone County sheriff’s office, said Spurlock and Sasher are in custody at the Boone County Jail.  No bond or arraignment date has been set.