YORK, Pa. (WHTM) - A York County man and wife accused of endangering the welfare of their five children by giving them alcohol to make them go to sleep had their charges held to court last week during a preliminary hearing.
James William Murphy, 40, and Roxanne Marie Murphy, 38, of Springettsbury Township, had their charges bound to court during a preliminary hearing before District Judge Barry Bloss Jr., who set a formal arraignment for July 26.
According to the criminal complaint, township police had responded to the family’s home at 2610 Mount Zion Road on the night of Dec. 21, after the Murphys’ 13-year-old son called 911 and reported that he and his siblings were home alone and drinking alcohol.
Responding officers said the 13-year-old boy and his three sisters — ages 9, 12 and 15 — were in the home and very intoxicated, and a 19-year-old boy was outside screaming and was very intoxicated.
Empty beer bottles were in the trash and a .30-30 rifle was on the living room floor, police said.
The children told police that their parents had given them a choice of drinking from a case of beer or taking their mother’s prescription pills so that they would go to sleep. They said their parents wanted to go to a Walmart and put presents under the tree because they were celebrating the Pagan holiday Yule, documents state.
The oldest boy told police that he had the gun out because he was thinking of killing himself, and the 12-year-old girl, who was screaming in pain, told officers that her father had dragged her out of bed, thrown her against a wall, and repeatedly kicked her in the side.
Police said in the court papers that the girl was so upset and injured that she could hardly stand or walk, and doctors later determined she had a broken rib, the complaint states.
The children also told authorities that their mother had smacked the youngest boy about 20 times, leaving bruising around his eyes, and that their father had threatened to kill the boy if he ever told anyone about anything that happened, according to the documents.
The 13-year-old additionally stated that he had passed out in the garage before his parents left the home, and that his father had encouraged a sibling to put an adult toy down his pants and in his face while the father took pictures with a cell phone, according to the complaint.
The children were taken into protective custody by York County Children and Youth Services and transported to a hospital for further evaluation due to their levels of intoxication. The 9-year-old had a blood-alcohol level of 0.087 percent and her older siblings tested between 0.049 and 0.073 percent, police said.
Roxanne Murphy returned home in a taxi cab later in the night and was taken to the police station for questioning. She said all of her children were liars, and requested an attorney when asked about the pills, documents state.
In later interviews, the children told investigators that they were often hit by their parents. The youngest boy told authorities he never attended school and was locked inside his room with a bucket, and would get in trouble for not taking care of their family’s 50 snakes.
The boy stated that his family had lived in West Virginia and Maryland before moving to York nine months before the December incident, and that the family moved every time he tried to tell anyone about the abuse, according to the complaint.
The children also told police they had been punished for taking food while their parents were out, and had discovered child pornography on their father’s computers. Several videos and images depicting child pornography were found during a search of the home, authorities said.
Police said in the complaint that the home was extremely filthy, had a strong odor that made it difficult to breathe, and had animals in every room; including snakes, lizards, rats, rabbits, birds, a dog, a cat and a pot-belly pig.
James Murphy was bound over on 27 criminal counts, including endangering the welfare of a child, child pornography, furnishing alcohol to minors, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint of a minor and simple assault.
His wife was bound over on 13 counts, including endangering the welfare of a child, attempted simple assault and unlawful restraint of a minor.
Bail for each has been set at $250,000.