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CCSO releases more details on alleged assault causing victim severe injuries, brain damage

Sierra Rains
srains@ardmoreite.com
Heath Gene Watkins

The Carter County Sheriff’s Office has released additional information regarding an investigation into an assault incident that reportedly left the victim with severe injuries and brain damage.

According to Carter County court documents, 18-year-old Heath Gene Watkins of Durant is facing charges for assault and battery by means or force as is likely to cause death in relation to the March 21 incident.

Incident reports released by the sheriff’s office details more of the events that led up to those charges.

At around 3:18 a.m. on March 21, a deputy from the Carter County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the Ardmore Mercy Hospital emergency room in reference to an assault victim.

Upon arrival, the deputy was informed that the victim had a “brain bleed” and observed visible head injuries. The victim reportedly could not speak at the time and was flown to the OU Medical Center.

According to Carter County court documents, the victim suffered bilateral fractures to his skull as well as a bilateral epidural hematoma, a head trauma injury involving bleeding around the brain, and fractures to his teeth.

According to the incident report, the victim’s father recovered his vehicle from a field and brought it back to the victim’s residence in Lone Grove. The deputy reportedly observed blood on the driver’s side of the vehicle and blood from the rear left third of the vehicle all the way to the driver’s door.

Later on March 21, Watkins was identified as a possible suspect and deputies from the Carter County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a residence in Marietta where the victim had been prior to the assault.

Through further investigation, deputies reportedly determined that the motive for the assault may have been an alleged romantic affair. Watkins is believed to have struck the victim in the head with a baseball bat at least two times.

A baseball bat and a club-like object wrapped in electrical tape were both found at the Marietta residence and seized as evidence, according to the incident report.

Watkins was taken into custody a few days later and is currently being held at the Carter County jail with a bond set at $100,000 cash.

Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant said the victim is currently in the recovery process and under the care of their family at home.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

A preliminary conference is scheduled for Watkins on April 23. If found guilty, Watkins could face up to life imprisonment.