Woman gets 5 years prison for letting boyfriend beat child

Ashley Wingo (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Ashley Wingo (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Houston woman who Lufkin police arrested in October for letting her boyfriend beat her 3-year-old daughter accepted a plea agreement for five years in prison Monday morning.

Ashley Wingo, 27, was charged with seven counts of injury to child, with the offenses listed from Oct. 11 to Oct. 23, 2013. Four of the offenses occurred in Harris County.

According to Article 13.075 of the Texas Criminal Code, an injury to a child offense may be prosecuted in the county in which an element of the offense was committed, in which the defendant is apprehended, in which the victim resides, or in which the defendant resides.

Wingo is accused of not stopping her then-boyfriend, Elisiah Phipps, 36, from abusing the girl. Sgt. David Casper spokesperson with the Lufkin Police Department said being a witness is just as bad a doing the crime.

"According to state law whether you are actively participating or turning a blind eye to it you are just as guilty as the person who harmed that child," Casper said.

He further explained that the punishment can be pretty severe and is at least a felony.

Phipps and Wingo were arrested back in October 2013 after someone called the Lufkin Police Department and made an outcry regarding possible child abuse.

Lt. David Young of the Lufkin Police Department said when police arrived at the 900 block of Picardy Lane, Phipps answered the door and said nobody else was home. Young said officers felt he was lying and were able to talk to letting him inside, where he led them to a bedroom closet, where the child and her mother, Ashley Wingo, 25, were hiding.

Young said it looked as though the injuries occurred over an unknown period of time; the girl had old and fresh injuries all over her body.

"There were injuries ranging from scars to fresh injuries, scabs on the buttocks where the flesh had actually been beaten away," Young said. " Her hands were so swollen she couldn't close her fists, marks on her hands, marks on her feet, marks on the bottom of her feet, marks all over the torso and buttocks."

According to the on-view narrative written in the arrest affidavit, the child had multiple injuries: "multiple streaks of broken skin with swelling on the child's back, bottom, and legs consistent with being hit with a switch or cord, multiple abrasions approximately 2 inches in diameter on the child's bottom with broken skin, swelling and bruising to the child's hands, swelling and bruising to the child's feet, abrasions to the child's hands, bruising and red marks to the child's back, and streaks of broken skin to the child's abdomen. Officers observed that some of the abrasions appeared to be infected and had decaying flesh."

Phipps told detectives he had been using belts, switches and shoes to discipline the child, the affidavit stated. He said he did it in response to bad behavior and "spanking" her six to 10 times a day. He said he knew she needed medical attention but continued to discipline her anyway.

Wingo told detectives she had seen Phipps strike the child with a belt on multiple occasions but she never reported Phipps to law enforcement nor would she seek help or medical attention for her daughter.

Phipps is scheduled for a motion hearing on Aug. 14 and jury selection on Aug. 18.

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