Beaumont couple plead guilty to injury to a child

Christopher Bushnell
Rashanda Morris

Criminal District Attorney Bob Wortham announced May 21 that Christopher Bushnell, 28, and Rashanda Morris, 27, each entered pleas of guilty to first degree Injury to a Child. Bushnell was charged with intentionally or knowingly causing serious bodily injury to the victim, a two-year-old child, by holding her feet under hot water. Morris was charged with intentionally or knowingly, by omission, causing serious bodily injury to the victim by failing to seek medical treatment after Bushnell injured the child.

Based on a plea agreement, Judge John B. Stevens, Jr. sentenced Bushnell to twenty (20) years in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Bushnell was also sentenced to eight (8) years in prison for second degree Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon Family Violence and six (6) years in prison for third degree Felony Assault Family Violence by Choking on unrelated charges.

Morris’ plea agreement was for a cap of twelve (12) years in prison. At sentencing, Judge Stevens will have the option of either placing Morris on deferred probation or sentencing her to anywhere from five (5) to twelve (12) years in prison. Judge Stevens will sentence Morris on June 18, 2018.

On June 17, 2016, officers with the Beaumont Police Department were dispatched to St. Elizabeth Hospital where a two-year-old child was being treated for severe burns to both of her feet. Several days prior to being taken to the hospital, Bushnell intentionally held the victim’s feet under scalding water as punishment after she accidentally wet herself. Morris did not take the victim to the hospital until another relative saw the victim’s injuries days later and insisted that the child needed immediate medical attention. The victim was transferred to Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston where she underwent a skin graft and was treated for third degree burns to her ankles and feet.

Morris lied to police and said that the victim got into the bathtub on her own when Morris stepped out of the bathroom to check on the other children. Morris also covered for Bushnell, her then boyfriend, by telling police that he was not home when it happened. Medical experts that treated the victim said that the injuries were not consistent with Morris’ account of what happened. The victim and two of her siblings were interviewed at The Garth House, where all three of them named Bushnell as the one who caused the burns to the victim’s feet.

These cases were investigated by Special Crimes Detective Darrell Lebeouf with the Beaumont Police Department and prosecuted by Special Crimes Chief Kim Pipkin with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office would like to thank the Garth House for their assistance with these cases, as well as their continued efforts to keep children in our community safe.

A person convicted of first degree Injury to a Child must serve half of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole.