File video: Lancaster mom charged in daughter's death appears in court
The mother of a 5-year-old Lancaster girl who died in 2013 from a skull fracture tried to hide the repeated abuse of her daughter at the hands of her then-boyfriend, prosecutors said Monday.
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Text messages between April Victoria Gleason and Phillip Bryan Gleason – who are now married – showed a pattern of abuse as Phillip Gleason was caring for 5-year-old Soren Chilson while April Gleason was at work, Sixth Circuit Deputy Solicitor Lisa Collins said in court.
“April Victoria Gleason allowed that contact,” Collins told Circuit Court Judge Casey Manning. “She left her with Bryan Gleason, exposing her to repeated incidents of abuse.”
Phillip Gleason’s lawyer has claimed that Soren had not been abused, but instead had suffered seizures, which caused her injuries. Phillip Gleason, babysitting at the time in 2013, told police that Soren was choking and was coughing up blood when he carried her to a bathroom. He then called 911.
Investigators say, however, that the pattern of abuse was not just egregious and violent, but that Gleason – who goes by the nickname Vickie – had accepted it and covered it up.
Collins said her “efforts to hide” the abuse after Soren was killed included washing a shirt the girl had been wearing when she died before turning it over to police.
Phillip Gleason is charged with homicide by child abuse and two counts of child neglect.
Police have said in previous court hearings that Soren’s injuries were the worst they had ever seen. An autopsy showed Soren suffered bruises on all four limbs, her feet, chest and back, as well as several wounds to her head and face, and internal bleeding.
Vickie Gleason, 30, who said nothing in court Monday, is charged with aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse and child neglect. She had been in jail for a month after her arrest in March — three years after Phillip Gleason was charged with homicide by child abuse. Monday’s hearing was to determine whether she should be released on bond to await her trial.
Over prosecutors’ objections, Manning set a $125,000 bond for Vickie Gleason.
Soren’s father died after she was born, prosecutors said Monday. Vickie and Phillip Gleason married after Soren died, and the couple now has an 8-month-old son who was taken into custody by the state Department of Social Services after Vickie Gleason was arrested.
Vickie Gleason was at work as a licensed practical nurse at an elder care nursing home in Pineville, N.C., when her daughter was found dead. Before Manning’s ruling, defense lawyer John Delgado argued that Vickie Gleason deserves the same bond as Phillip Gleason, who has been free on $150,000 bond for almost three years.
Manning agreed and ordered electronic monitoring for Vickie Gleason if she is able to post bond. As of late Monday afternoon, jail officials said, April Gleason was still in custody.