A Dauphin County man will spend 4-8 years in prison for the death of his three-year-old son more than two years ago.
Stephen Dixon, 22, of Swatara Township, received the sentence Thursday after pleading no contest to charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, and endangering the welfare of a child in the death of Jayahn Cox-Phoenix.
Jayahn died May 25, 2010 on his third birthday when he was taken off life support at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, four days after
Dixon called 911 to report that the boy had accidentally drowned in the bathtub of
his apartment in the 3600 block of Chambers Hill Road.
Prosecutors said an autopsy later showed that Jayahn had suffered several
non-accidental injuries and that his death was caused by both drowning
and a traumatic brain injury.
Investigators believe Dixon became angry and beat the boy after he wet himself, then put him in the bathtub in an attempt to conceal what he had done. Dixon claimed his son accidentally drowned in the tub when he walked outside to let out his dog.
"I don't forgive him. I don't forgive his family," Jayahn's mother, Jasmine Cox said after the sentencing.
Dixon in the courtroom had turned around and looked at Cox and her family and said, "I didn't kill my son."
"I didn't look at him," Cox said. "I don't believe him. I know he hurt my son. There's nothing he can say or do to bring him back."
Cox believes Dixon's sentence should have been longer.
"The sentence that the judge gave out is probably the right sentence," Chief Assistant District Attorney Sean McCormack said. "I am just disappointed that the laws, the way they are written, do not call for a longer sentence. Neither family is walking away happy today. I do not think anybody can walk away happy from a case like this."
Cox is expecting a baby boy in six weeks. She says she visits Jayahn's grave every week.
"I am living in hell," she said. "I just want my son back. I miss him so much."
With credit for time served, Dixon will be eligible for parole in two years.