BARRE — A Granite City woman is facing several charges as police say she broke a child’s leg and made another eat rotten spaghetti and her own vomit.
Ashley L. Nutbrown-Covey, 28, pleaded not guilty in Washington County criminal court in Barre Thursday to one count of felony aggravated domestic assault and three counts of misdemeanor cruelty to a child less than 10 years old. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison and a $26,500 fine.
According to the police affidavit, in 2011, Nutbrown-Covey threw a boy across the room after he refused to move while she was vacuuming. The boy suffered a broken leg with a spiral fracture, which according to police, could not have been sustained by the child falling, but by being thrown.
Police spoke with the boy who told them Nutbrown-Covey would spank him when he was misbehaving, but said he broke his leg by being pushed off the couch by another child.
Police also spoke to a young girl who told them between 2012 and 2013 Nutbrown-Covey would lock her in the basement when she was “being bad.” Punishments she described included making her kneel on a broomstick, spraying her in the face with a spray bottle full of urine and, in one incident, making her eat rotten spaghetti and if she thew up on the food, she would have to eat it anyway.
Police spoke with a male relative who said Nutbrown-Covey admitted to him that she had thrown the boy out of anger on the day the he broke his leg. The relative also said he’d witnessed Nutbrown-Covey forcing the girl to kneel on a broomstick.
Another male relative told police he had witnessed the girl vomit into her spaghetti and heard Nutbrown-Covey tell the girl, “You asked for it, you can eat it.”
When police spoke with Nutbrown-Covey, she denied spraying the child in the face with urine. She also denied having the child kneel on broomsticks.
Nutbrown-Covey told police she does not believe in physical discipline, but instead disciplines by taking things away like video games and movies, and using time outs.
When asked about the boy’s broken leg, Nutbrown-Covey said another child had pulled the boy off the back of the couch and that’s what caused the break.
Nutbrown-Covey was also arraigned on a felony false claim charge Thursday. If she is convicted of that, she faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
According to the police affidavit, Nutbrown-Covey has a history of making false claims. Police say she had made two calls to the Department for Children and Families in May alleging a child was being sexually and physically assaulted. Police say Nutbrown-Covey reported a female child had been dragged into a basement by her hair and had her hands tied behind her back and her mouth duct taped. She also reported the girl had been sexually assaulted at a barbecue on May 26.
Police say during the calls, Nutbrown-Covey used the names “Lorna Dibiase” and “Lorna Diabiase,” and said she was from Northfield. Police say after searching through databases and Northfield’s tax records, there was no record of either Lorna Dibiase or Lorna Diabiase living in the town.
Police tracked the phone number used to call Children and Families to a woman living in Barre, Mylissa L. DuPerry, 27. When police spoke with DuPerry, she initially denied that any calls were made from her phone, but later admitted to letting Nutbrown-Covey use the phone and heard her speaking to Children and Families to make the reports.
Police then spoke with Nutbrown-Covey, who first said DuPerry doesn’t even have a phone. After being told about DuPerry’s admission, police say Nutbrown-Covey started screaming at the officer and said if the police had any more questions, they should call her lawyer.
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