Weatherford Democrat

December 12, 2012

Mom receives probation for son’s beating


Weatherford Democrat

— By CHRISTIN COYNE

ccoyne@weatherforddemocrat.com

Two of four defendants in a February child abuse case, including the victim’s mother, pleaded guilty during the past week to injury to a child, each receiving 10 years probation for their part in the beating of an 11-year-old mentally disabled boy.

Four adults, who lived together, admitted to paddling the boy and holding him down on a table while repeatedly hitting him with a cutting board after he threw a fit, according to arrest warrant affidavits. School employees reportedly found the boy with various injuries across his body, including severe bruising, the following day.

The child’s mother, 39-year-old Gina Delynn Murasky, pleaded guilty Monday to the third-degree felony and was given 10 years probation by 43rd District Judge Trey Loftin, which will include 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Although Murasky is competent, Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain said, one of the probation requirements was a mental health assessment and recommendation for treatment and counseling.

The mental health issue was a consideration in the case, according to Swain.

Other probation requirements include parenting classes, anger control counseling and 200 hours of community service in addition to the regular probation conditions, Swain said.

Karen Denise Horner, 32, pleaded guilty Dec. 4 and Jason Radell Harnsberger, 38, pleaded guilty in August. Both received similar 10-year probation sentences that included jail time.

The case against Russell Scott Herrick, 35, is ongoing.

Murasky reportedly brought the child to school Feb. 15 and requested they not contact CPS about scratches on his face.

The boy – diagnosed with mental retardation and functioning at about a second-grade level, according to his school – was taken to the nurse’s office due to concern about the scratches on his head and face. There, the school nurse located severe bruising on his body, court records stated.

The CPS investigator noticed bruising from his calves to his shoulder blades and on his arms, as well as scratches on his chest, swelling on one side of his forehead and a laceration to his earlobe.

The incident began after the boy reportedly threw a fit, hitting, kicking and throwing things.

Harnsberger allegedly told investigators he rubbed the boy’s face in ketchup on a lightswitch “like you would a dog on the carpet” after the boy refused to clean it up.

At some point, Murasky reportedly put her son on the kitchen table.

The adults said Herrick repeatedly struck the boy – reportedly described by his mother as weighing about 60 or 70 pounds – with an approximately 6-inch by 8-inch plastic cutting board, as Murasky and Horner held him by his arms and legs face down, according to an affidavit filed by Weatherford police.

Other scratches on the boy’s face were received when two of the adults told Horner’s 8-year-old son to tackle the 11-year-old boy and he did so, gouging at the older boy’s face, the 8-year-old reportedly told investigators.

Herrick also reportedly told investigators everyone in the house “beats on him” and the 11-year-old boy acts aggressive.

CPS – which responded to 14 allegations of neglect, physical abuse or sexual abuse of the boy or his now 16-year-old half-sister between 1995 and 2011, all ruled out or unable to make a finding – removed Murasky’s two children and Horner’s four children from the home after the incident.