Jurors find Tyree Bowie not guilty of all charges in death of 2-year-old Dante Mullinix

Jurors returned a verdict Friday in the trial of Tyree Bowie, finding the York City man not guilty of killing a 2-year-old boy while babysitting him four years ago.

Friday's verdict ended four weeks of testimonies, cross-examinations, and viewing of evidence. Attorneys faced off Thursday in closing arguments.

Bowie denied harming the toddler, insisting that Dante Mullinix choked on a Teddy Graham cookie in his car. The rebuttal was supported by a medical opinion that backs up the defense.

Bowie had faced charges of first- and third-degree murder, as well as a felony count of endangering the welfare of a child.

The trial was overseen by Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder.

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Thursday's closing arguments

Defense attorney Farley Holt started off closing arguments.

“Should we even be here is the question?” Holt asked.

Holt alleged Leah Mullinix, Dante's mom, caused the injuries on Sept. 6, which led to her son's death.

“I am making this case about Leah,” Holt said. "She should be on trial for assault, attempted homicide, endangering her children."

Holt accused Mullinix of covering up her actions with makeup and words.

Bowie testified that he’d seen bruises on Dante for days before the night of Sept. 6., and that he walked in on Leah allegedly putting makeup on Dante's neck and chin as the toddler held his head in a position to have the makeup applied.

Holt accused Mullinix of neglecting Dante. He said she caused the bruises that showed up in medical exams before Sept. 6. She was also in trouble with York CYS for not seeking medical attention for Dante after he had a genital infection for weeks.

On Sept. 6, Bowie brought Mullinix and Dante to the home he was staying at the time where they ate burgers and watched a movie, according to Bowie's testimony.

Mullinix announced she had a bad migraine and needed to go to the hospital.

Bowie said that they rushed out of the home and headed to the hospital after Mullinix, who was driving, stopped at the shelter she and Dante lived at to tell them she would be out past curfew.

After dropping Mullinix off, Bowie, along with Dante, who was in the backseat, headed back home, stopping at the Rutter's located on the Susquehanna Trail. It was after 8:30 p.m. when surveillance video at the gas station showed the last time Dante was out in public.

Upon returning to Bowie’s place, Bowie said he locked himself out because he couldn’t find his house key. So he and Dante hung out in his car when he texted Mullinix that they were home.

Both Bowie and Mullinix messaged each other and chatted on a video call. He told her that Dante fell in the car and while getting out, slamming his chin on the door frame.

Bowie said that Dante was not "normal" the whole day and he decided to take Dante back to the hospital. On the way there he gave the toddler a Teddy Graham.

While he was driving on North George Street, Bowie heard a thump and saw Dante had fallen against the car door.

He wasn’t breathing.

York City Police are investigating the death of 2-year-old Dante Mullinix, who was brought to York Hospital suffering from injuries, police said.
York City Police are investigating the death of 2-year-old Dante Mullinix, who was brought to York Hospital suffering from injuries, police said.

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Bowie said that he pulled over before he pulled Dante to the driver’s seat. He testified that he gripped Dante’s jaw and neck with his right hand as he tried to get the cookie out with his left hand. Bowie said that he is left-handed but knows how to use both hands.

Bowie testified that he blew into the toddler's mouth. That blew cookie mush from Dante’s windpipe through his nose as Bowie tried chest compressions to get him breathing again.

Bowie started driving south to the hospital before he pulled over again around Maple Street.

At one point, he drove with his knees while driving to the hospital, according to his testimony.

He video-called Mullinix to tell her about the choking incident.

At 10:20 p.m., Bowie arrived at the hospital, walked inside, and handed the toddler to medical personnel.

In his testimony, Bowie said that he told Mullinix to tell doctors about Hector Rivera, better known as "Holiday" Rivera, and the makeup before leaving the hospital. Bowie said that Mullinix told him that Rivera was abusing Dante.

Doctors discovered serious bruises all over Dante’s body. Fresher wounds covered bruises that were seen on him in previous visits by medical professionals.

A medical expert for the defense supported Bowie’s story, saying Dante died from accidental choking, cutting off oxygen to his brain and causing it to swell.

Swabs taken from inside the car and door panel found specs of Teddy Grahams.

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But First Assistant District Attorney Tim Barker did not believe Bowie's testimony.

Barker's position was that Bowie beat Dante, causing severe injuries that night that led to the boy’s hospitalization and death about a week and a half later. Dante's cause of death was a traumatic brain injury, along with strangulation and suffocation, according to the autopsy.

He called Bowie’s testimony an “ever-changing story."

Barker believed that the fatal injuries Dante endured were inflicted after the trip to Rutter's and before Bowie brought the toddler back to York Hospital.

Barker focused on the hour and 40-minute window that he said started after they left the gas station. He pointed out that Bowie did not contact anyone for about 16 minutes.

“9:50 to 10:06 p.m., he’s truly isolated and alone," Barker said. "It is solely two people: the defendant and Dante Mullinix."

Barker believed that in those 16 minutes, Bowie and Dante were in the home.

Barker disputed that Bowie's testimony about being locked out and hanging out in the car since investigators found Dante's diaper bag in his bedroom.

But Holt said that neighbors heard nothing and that there was no evidence of violence in the home.


Family and Friends wearing shirts in support of Tyree Bowie. The shirt said "Justice for Dante. Free Tyree".
Family and Friends wearing shirts in support of Tyree Bowie. The shirt said "Justice for Dante. Free Tyree".

The jury started deliberating at 10:30 a.m. Friday morning.

In a full court of onlookers and supporters, the jury entered the courtroom with their verdict at around 12:30 p.m.

Bowie was found not guilty of first-degree murder, third-degree murder, and endangering the welfare of a child.

"The jury we had was the best jury I've ever had," Holt said. "For them to stick this out for as long as they did, it's just amazing. They did the right thing. They saw through the smoke and mirrors."

"I never doubted Tyree," Holt said. "Finally Dante got some justice"

Leah Mullinix, 26, is charged in the case with a felony count of child endangerment. She's expected to appear in court in January, according to court records.

This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: Tyree Bowie found not guilty of 2018 death of Dante Mullinix