New charge added in child-beating case
Authorities added the attempted murder charge after learning the extent of the boy's injuries.
By VIRGINIA ROSS
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Authorities have added attempted homicide to a list of charges being lodged against an area man they said severely beat his girlfriend's children earlier this month.
A preliminary hearing for Samuel Whisel, 26, of Volant scheduled for Thursday was postponed until 11 a.m. Wednesday in Lawrence County Central Court here.
Pennsylvania State police said they added the criminal attempt at homicide charge for injuries Whisel is accused of inflicting on his live-in girlfriend's 3-year-old-son. Whisel was arraigned on the new charge earlier this week. At that time the previous charges in the case were refiled and District Judge David Rishel set a new bond at 200,000.
Whisel is also being held on a 200,000 bond related to injuries police said were inflicted on the boy's 18-month-old sister, causing her compound breaks in both arms and severe bruising.
Whisel also faces two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault, endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering.
Authorities said they decided to charge Whisel with attempted homicide later after learning the extent of the boy's injuries.
Police said Whisel denied the charges and contends the girl's injuries resulted from her falling off a 6-foot stool and that the boy fell while walking on porch steps.
What girlfriend said
But according to court papers, Whisel's girlfriend, Amy J. Tillia, 25, told them Whisel first beat her daughter Feb. 4 after the toddler had been crying in her room. According to those court papers, filed Feb. 7, Tillia, who lives with Whisel in Washington Township, said she saw the girl's arm was extremely swollen the next day, but Whisel would not allow her to take the toddler for medical treatment.
According to court papers, while the girl was being treated at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh on Feb. 7, Whisel beat the girl's 3-year-old brother, fracturing the back of his skull, lacerating his liver and causing extensive injuries to other vital internal organs. The boy was also taken to Children's Hospital.