SUNBURY – ‘This is one of the most horrific cases I’ve ever heard,’ the words of Shamokin District Judge John Gembic who presided over a preliminary hearing Thursday for the mother of three-year-old Arabella Parker and her boyfriend Jahrid Burgess.
After Parker’s mother, Samantha Delcamp waived her preliminary hearing–sending her homicide charges case to court–Burgess asked for a hearing, pleaded not guilty, heard testimony and was eventually sent back to jail, without bail, as his case also sent to county court for more action.
Parker was three years old last month when she died from a severe beating sustained in October.
In the Burgess hearing, the first witness called was a county Children and Youth worker Brittany Williams. She said Parker’s severe brain injury suffered was “The worst brain injury I’ve ever seen in a child.”
Burgess, through his attorney, continues to claim he didn’t abuse the child and she only had a seizure. Burgess’ lawyer also called Delcamp’s testimony ‘suspect,’ with no credibility, saying the evidence doesn’t match murder charges.
But a second witness, Stonington state trooper Brian Siebert, said the head injury would not be from a seizure, but seizures can happen after the head is injured. He said the child’s injuries were consistent with “severe beating.”
Siebert also said Delcamp had seen previous bruises on the child, and Delcamp told troopers she saw Burgess perform other acts of abuse, causing injuries. Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz added Burgess ‘created a culture of fear and abuse in that house.’ Judge Gembic also added in his closing remarks ‘ the system failed’ Arabella and the DA needs to continue a full investigation.