Mio Man Accused of First Degree Child Abuse and Murder
Richard Watson, originally from Mio in Oscoda Township, is accused of abusing and murdering the infant daughter of his Midland girlfriend. He has been charged with first degree child abuse, homicide and open murder, following the baby’s death and a very brief investigation into the events that possibly caused it.
Court records show that emergency responders were summoned to an IKEA store in Canton Township near Detroit on August 9th. Another shopper had noticed that the baby was having trouble breathing. EMS arrived to find an unresponsive 4-month-old, Evelyn Patricia Legacy, with her mother and the mother’s boyfriend. Evelyn was suffering from cardiac arrest and having respiratory problems.
She was airlifted to Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, where she only lived for a few days. Medical authorities say that the little girl had suffered a severe brain injury and multiple broken bones, although there were no outward signs of any injury. But it was the brain trauma that caused her death.
In police interviews following her admission to the hospital, Watson admitted to police that he had shaken the child while at home. This, authorities believe, was the cause of the brain injury. Watson also admitted that he had squeezed the baby tightly in a blanket a few weeks prior in order to make her go to sleep. He was immediately arrested and charged for the abuse and for the baby’s subsequent death.
Under Michigan law, first degree child abuse is a life sentence if convicted. Open murder means that the prosecutor has not chosen between first and second degree murder, and is leaving the decision up to the jury. Should the jury choose first degree murder, this is also a life long prison sentence.
Watson has been granted a court appointed attorney for his defense. According to court documents, a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.