Ashley Buckman, James Edwards Plead Not Guilty to Abuse That Killed 4-Year-Old Girl
Ashley Buckman and her boyfriend James Edwards pleaded not guilty this morning to charges related to the death of Buckman's 4-year-old daughter, who died after horrific alleged abuse.
Toryn Buckman was pronounced brain dead when she was brought to Phoenix Children's Hospital on May 30, after what Edwards told police was five or six months of abuse of the girl, and she died the next day.
According to court documents obtained by New Times, the girl had injuries to her face, mouth, neck, chest, torso, back, and arms, including burns on her buttocks, genitals, legs, and hands, as well as several broken ribs and ripped-off nipples.
According to those documents, police were told that the girl was not expected to survive.
When authorities arrived at Buckman and Edwards' Phoenix apartment, they noticed an "obvious pattern injury consistent to a clothes hanger throughout her body," in addition to the other injuries.
Phoenix Police Sergeant Tommy Thompson told New Times shortly after the girl died that homicide investigators were handling this case from the get-go, adding that some of the longtime investigators are saying this is one of the worst child-abuse cases they've ever seen.
Buckman admitted to beating her daughter with said clothes hanger, as well as smacking her daughter in the mouth, assaulting her daughter for "disciplinary reasons over an extended period of time," and twisting her nipples until they bled -- nipples that were eventually ripped off, according to the documents.
Thompson said the two most recent incidents came the day before the girl was brought to the hospital, when she was beaten by her mother for a bathroom-in-the-bed incident, and again on Wednesday, when she told investigators she hit her daughter for being "naughty again."
It's around the time of that last beating that the girl went unconscious, and 911 was called.
At her initial appearance before a judge shortly after her arrest, Buckman changed her story, saying she gave her attorney proof that she didn't do anything.
According to what Edwards told police, the couple had been assaulting the girl over five or six months, the documents say.
He said he had "disciplin[ed]" the girl using either his hand or a remote control, according to the documents, and admitted to being the guy responsible for the burns on the girl.
That was due to placing her into a bathtub with "scalding hot water" several weeks ago, but those burns were still visible.
Buckman and Edwards face one count each of first-degree murder and child abuse.
They're scheduled to be back in court in August.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.