LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Houston man accepted a plea bargain deal of 12 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison for severely beating his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter with belts, switches, and shoes over an extended period of time.
Elisiah “Big Boy” Phipps, 36, appeared in Judge Barry Bryan's 217th Judicial District Court Thursday morning. He pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony injury to a child charge.
Layne Thompson, an assistant district attorney for Angelina County, said that a third-degree felony typically carries a punishment range of two to 10 years in prison. However, because Phipps had a previous felony conviction on his record, he could have faced prison sentence of up to 20 years if the case had gone to a jury trial.
An Angelina County jury convicted Phipps of aggravated robbery in 1999 and sentenced him to 12 years in prison.
Phipps has been in the Angelina County Jail since he and his girlfriend, Ashley Wingo, 26, were arrested in October 2013.
According to a previous East Texas News story, Lufkin Police officers went to home in the 900 block of Picardy Lane after someone called in a tip about an abused child. Lt. David Young of the Lufkin Police Department, said when the LPD officers arrived on the scene, Phipps answered the door and told them no one else was home.
However, the officers were able to talk Phipps into letting them inside the home. Phipps led them to a bedroom closet where Wingo and the child were hiding.
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."
According to the affidavit, Phipps told detectives he had been using belts, switches and shoes to discipline the child. 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.
Child Protective Services took custody of the then-3-year-old girl and an infant child that was born prematurely.
Earlier this month, Wingo accepted a plea bargain deal of five years in prison. She was charged with seven counts of injury to a child with the offenses listed from Oct. 11 to Oct. 13. Four of the offenses occurred in Harris County.
Wingo is accused of not stopping her then-boyfriend.
"She pleaded to five years for not intervening or seeking help from police or family. We think she did this because she had been in a prior abusive relationship," Thompson said.