SUNBURY, Pa. (AP) — A central Pennsylvania jury has convicted a woman of lying to investigators in the 2019 beating death of a 3-year-old girl in which her son faces charges.
The (Sunbury) Daily Item reports that 51-year-old Christy Willis of Sunbury proclaimed “I am innocent" while being led out of the Northumberland County courthouse following her conviction on charges of obstruction in child abuse cases, hindering apprehension and making false reports to law enforcement.
Jurors deliberated for less than an hour Thursday before convicting her of lying to investigators about events leading up to the October 2019 beating of Arabella Parker, who died after spending 44 days at Geisinger Medical Center.
District Attorney Tony Matulewicz said Willis told various stories to law enforcement, and a doctor testified that had medical staff been told the truth about the abuse the child sustained before arriving at the hospital, her chances of survival would have been greater.
Willis also proclaimed the innocence of her son, 20-year-old Jahrid Burgess of Port Trevorton, who is charged with homicide. “You are only getting one side. You all aren’t hearing the full story,” she said. Defense attorney William Cannon said he and his client will discuss a possible appeal.
Prosecutors announced last year that they would not seek the death penalty against Burgess. The child's mother is charged with acting as an accomplice. Both are awaiting trial.