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Defense challenges charge of endangering child in Fassler case

Judge to decide whether amended indictment is proper

DIXON – An attorney has asked that one of the charges be dropped against his client, who is accused of seriously injuring his son in 2009 by throwing him down a set of stairs.

Andrew C. Fassler of Dixon is charged with aggravated domestic battery and endangering the life and health of a child. Court documents say that in 2009, while punishing his 10-year-old son, Fassler decided the boy wasn't running a set of stairs fast enough, and so grabbed the boy by the back of the shirt and pulled him toward the stairway. The boy then fell down the stairs and broke his arm.

That information came from an interview that Fassler's then-wife, Tiffany Fassler, gave to investigators.

In his motion to dismiss the second charge, attorney Lou Pignatelli argued that, because that charge didn't appear on the original indictment filed in 2011, but rather was added in an amended indictment filed by the state in 2013, the second charge should be dropped.

Pignatelli argues that because the state wasn't specific enough in its charge, especially with regard to the date of the offense, it should be dismissed. The attorney's filing also said the amended indictment, which included charges involving the death of a second child, had been filed after the state's statute of limitations expired for felony acts.

Tiffany Fassler is, herself, charged with two counts of first-degree murder and four counts of aggravated battery of a child in the death of the other child – a 6-year-old who, investigators say, died after he suffered traumatic brain injuries at the hands of his stepmother.

During Tiffany Fassler's interview with investigators, she said the 10-year-old had complained of pain, but his father didn't take him to the hospital for 2 days.

Police interviewed the father about the 2009 incident during their investigation into the 6-year-old’s injuries.

He told them he was taking the 10-year-old boy up the stairs and that the boy was being "a little jerk" and pulled away, which caused him to fall and break his arm.

The story told to investigators by the 10-year-old was different still. He claimed that his father threw him down the stairs head-first "like Superman." He said that neither of his parents believed he hurt his arm, and that he had to do jumping jacks to prove he was in pain.

Andrew Fassler was a Dixon City firefighter from 2001 until he resigned on June 29, 2011 – shortly before criminal charges against him were filed.

Court documents in both parents' cases detail a lengthy history of child abuse.

Tiffany is awaiting trial in Lee County Court. Recently, the court granted her request for unsupervised contact with a different 14-year-old son. Her next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 13.

Lee County State's Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller was unavailable for comment.

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