UNIONTOWN (KDKA) – A man will stand trial in connection with a case of child abuse that left his 20-month-old daughter dead in November.
Domer Burkholder, Jr., 30, of Uniontown, is charged with criminal homicide and child endangerment in the death of his 20-month-old daughter, Kaylee Jo Burkholder.
According to Pennsylvania State Police, Burkholder is accused of striking the child in the abdomen. The incident happened at the Holiday Mobile Home Park in North Union Township.
The little girl was taken to Uniontown Hospital, and then transferred to Children’s Hospital where she died from her injuries.
On Wednesday, District Justice Wendy Dennis’ parking lot became a rowdy scene of nasty accusations by friends and supporters of the suspect and those supporting his wife and the child’s mother, Jessica Burkholder.
Both Burkholders faced preliminary hearings. Domer Burkholder waived to court charges in connection with the death of his 20-month-old baby girl in November of last year.
“It should have never happened. It just should have never happened,” said Jessica Burkholder.
She was initially charged with endangering the welfare of a child by not taking the little girl to the hospital.
On the stand Wednesday, Jessica said she watched husband allegedly punch the child in the stomach, the injuries eventually fatal.
Her testimony came in exchange for a plea deal of child endangerment.
“Walk in my shoes,” said Jessica. “Yeah, there’s going to be people that hate me. Till they really know, they have no idea.
Katie Ritenour spoke after the hearing, which included testimony that the family’s four children were living in a poorly kept house with strangers also staying there, sometimes 11 people at a time.
“She lied the entire time; everything she said was a lie,” said Ritenour. “She did not take that baby to the hospital to get the baby help, and she should face the same charges as him.”
The couple’s three remaining children are now in foster care.
“I’m fighting to get my kids back. I’m doing everything – taking classes, counseling,” said Jessica.
But that reunion may be a long way off as part of the plea has Jessica serving six to 23 months in prison followed by two years’ probation.
While Jessica remains free till her formal sentencing, her husband remains in the Fayette County Prison without bond. His trial date has not been set.