Volant man who beat 3-year-old found guilty

Both children have recovered and are in foster care.



NEW CASTLE, Pa. — A Volant man accused of severely beating a 3-year-old boy has been convicted of attempted homicide.

Sam Whisel, 26, was found guilty Friday by a Lawrence County jury of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault, endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person in the February beating of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son.

Whisel still faces similar charges for injuries the boy’s 18-month-old sister suffered just days before the boy was injured.

Lawrence County District Attorney John Bongivengo said both children have recovered from their injuries and are doing well in foster care. He noted, however, that if the county children and youth officials had not stepped in when they did, the boy would have died.

Whisel was arrested Feb. 7 by Pennsylvania State Police after his girlfriend, Amy Tillia, showed up at the Grove City Medical Center with the 18-month-old girl. The child had two broken arms and other injuries. She told police the child was injured two days earlier by Whisel after the little girl would not stop crying and Whisel went into her room. Whisel had refused to allow Tillia to take the girl for treatment.

Police and Children and Youth Services workers went to Whisel’s home that night when they learned from Tillia that she had left her 3-year-old son in Whisel’s care. Police said that when they arrived, Whisel first denied the boy was home. They found the child in a rear room badly beaten and bruised with two skull fractures and internal injuries.

Both children were treated at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital.

Bongivengo said Tillia was not charged in the matter, but is in jail on charges from a separate matter.

Whisel also remains in jail after failing to post $200,000 bond.

Bongivengo said jurors returned with the verdict after deliberating for about four hours Friday. The jury trial started Tuesday.

No date has been set for Whisel’s sentencing. He is scheduled to go to trial on charges relating to the girl’s injuries early next year.


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