(NewsSpace.com) – In 2021, a disabled man, 32-year-old Joshua Taylor, was beaten and left for dead on Bollinger County Road 346 in Missouri. Four days after his death, two suspects—Heather Watson and Joshua Proffer—were charged with first-degree murder and booked into jail on a $1 million bond each. Proffer pleaded guilty in 2022 to second-degree murder and received life in prison with the possibility of parole. A judge has now sentenced Watson as well.
On December 21, 2023, nearly two years after Taylor’s death, Watson pleaded guilty as well to second-degree murder. Judge Scott Lipke sentenced her to 25 years in prison, a result of a plea agreement between the Bollinger County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and Watson.
When police arrived on the scene just after 1 a.m. on April 2, they found Taylor with several facial injuries. He had two bruised eyes, lacerations on his lip and above his eyes, and evidence of being restrained at some point. His body was also partially submerged in a pond on the property, which belonged to Watson and Proffer.
According to a statement posted on Facebook by the Bollinger County Sheriff’s Office, a witness revealed that Proffer and Watson had tied the victim to a chair in their home. While restrained, he was beaten with a bar of soap stuffed inside a sock and struck by fists. He was also waterboarded. Watson carried out the assault under the guidance of Proffer, who gave her instructions on what to do. Once he was presumed dead, the duo dragged Taylor to a pond, where he was later found. It’s not clear what the motive for the attack was.
Upon Watson’s sentencing, Sheriff Casey A. Graham released a statement thanking the entities involved with investigating and prosecuting the case, including the State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control. He also expressed his hope that “the conclusion of this investigation brings closure to the victim’s family.”
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