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Second suspect charged in alleged assault

Sierra Rains
srains@ardmoreite.com

A juvenile female from Ardmore is now the second person facing charges in relation to an alleged March 21 assault incident that left the victim with severe injuries and brain damage.

Heath Gene Watkins, 18, of Durant was the first suspect to be arrested a few days after the incident. Watkins was charged with complaints of assault and battery by means or force as is likely to cause death after reportedly striking the victim in the head with a baseball bat at least two times.

According to Carter County court documents filed April 3, a 17-year-old female from Ardmore is also facing charges for assault and battery by means or force as is likely to cause death in relation to the incident.

Court documents state that the 17 year old allegedly lured the victim to a fairly isolated location in order to facilitate a “vicious and life threatening assault” on the victim by Watkins.

The victim reportedly 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.

Carter County Sheriff’s Office deputies were first made aware of the situation after reportedly receiving a call from the Ardmore Mercy Hospital at around 3 a.m. on March 21 in reference to an assault victim.

The responding deputy was informed that the victim had a “brain bleed” and the deputy observed visible head injuries, according to incident reports from the sheriff’s office. The victim allegedly could not speak at the time and was flown to the OU Medical Center.

Further investigation showed blood on the driver’s side of the victim’s vehicle and blood from the rear left third of the vehicle all the way to the driver’s door.

Later that day, Watkins was identified as a potential suspect and deputies from the sheriff’s department were dispatched to a residence in Marietta, where Watkins and the 17-year-old female had reportedly been seen the night before the assault.

While at the residence, deputies located a baseball bat and a club-like object wrapped in electrical tape and seized the items as evidence, according to the incident reports.

The 17-year-old female and Watkins are believed to have been involved in a romantic relationship at the time. Further investigation into the incident has led deputies to believe the victim may have also had a romantic relationship with the female suspect.

The victim is currently in the recovery process and under the care of their family at home.

A preliminary conference is scheduled for Watkins on April 23 and the 17-year-old female suspect has a court date set for May 18. Assault and battery by means or force as is likely to cause death is a felony charge punishable by imprisonment for up to life.