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Judge send on trial for case of assault, child abuse

September 12, 2002|by KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

A Washington County District judge found probable cause Wednesday to send on for trial the case of a Hagerstown man charged with trying to suffocate his girlfriend's son and daughter.

Mark Edward Schilling, 37, was charged with seven counts of child abuse-parent, three counts of contributing to the condition of a child and four counts of second-degree assault.

During Wednesday's preliminary hearing, Judge Noel Spence threw out one charge of child abuse-parent, saying it was redundant.

Hagerstown City Police Detective Caroll Braun testified that the children feared Schilling when they and their mother lived with him from September 2001 through August 2002.

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On questioning by Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Robert Veil, Braun testified that witnesses told him Schilling broke the 7-year-old boy's arm by yanking him out of a recliner, threw the boy across the room and held a pillow over his head until his face turned blue.

Braun also testified he was told Schilling picked the boy up by his throat and held him up in the air, knocked his head against a table pushing it four inches, urinated in a bottle and allowed the boy to drink it and made the boy eat feces from his underwear.

A family friend told Braun that he witnessed Schilling hit the child over the head so hard "it sounded like a shotgun going off," said Braun.

Braun testified that the 8-year-old girl told him that on several occasions Schilling placed pillows and blankets over her face so that she could not breathe.

Defense attorney Eric Reed asked the judge to dismiss the charges because the state did not put on any testimony showing that Schilling was responsible for the children. For the child abuse-parent charge to apply, the state must show the children were in Schilling's permanent or temporary care, he said.

Spence denied Reed's request and said Schilling was "ruling that roost with an iron fist and everyone in it was terrified of him."

The children's mother was afraid of Schilling and on one occasion lied to officials about the cause of the boy's injuries, Braun said.

Schilling was being held at the Washington County Detention Center on $510,000 bond.

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