THE COLUMBIAN, Vancouver, Washington, Saturday, September 18, 2004.

Father pleads not guilty to assault in circumcision case

Saturday, September 18, 2004
By STEPHANIE RICE, Columbian staff writer

A Ridgefield man who allegedly performed a botched circumcision on his 8-year-old son pleaded not guilty Friday to second-degree assault of a child.

Superior Court Judge Diane Woolard accepted the not-guilty plea from Edwin B. Baxter, who initially told Woolard he did not understand the charge and then asked for a new court-appointed attorney.

After a brief discussion with his attorney, Tony Lowe, Baxter returned to the bench and entered his plea.

His trial was set for Nov. 8.

Baxter is being held in the Clark County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Clark County senior deputy prosecutor Kim Farr said he has been unable to track down members of Baxter's family, who have abandoned their rental home. Law enforcement and investigators from the state Department of Children and Family Services also have been unsuccessful in finding the family.

Baxter, 33, and his pregnant wife have nine children. The state has tried before to contact the family after receiving reports that none of the children attends school.

Farr said he'll seek a court order to take depositions from Baxter's wife, who was home at the time of the incident, and the victim. If the defendant does not relay the word to his family that they are required to give depositions, then Farr said he'll consider asking for warrants for the wife and son to be arrested and kept in custody as material witnesses until the trial.

Baxter, a truck driver, was arrested Sept. 3 after he called 911 to report that his son was bleeding profusely in the family's bathroom. Baxter allegedly said he tried to circumcise his son after reading biblical passages about the procedure.

Farr said Baxter put a blanket and pillow in the bathtub to try and make his son comfortable.

If convicted of second-degree assault, Baxter could face three years in prison.

Stephanie Rice covers the courts. She can be reached at 360-759-8004 or

(File created 19 September 2004)