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WRGT-TV FOX 45 News :: News - Top Stories - Mother to be Sentenced Today for Permitting Child Abuse
Tuesday, February 26 2013, 10:38 AM EST
Mother to be Sentenced Today for Permitting Child Abuse
DAYTON -- Michelle Mooty, who was found guilty earlier this month of Permitting Child Abuse, is expected to be sentenced today.

Mooty's boyfriend, Joe Watson was convicted of murder in December after reportedly beating to death 2-year-old Levi Barrett.

He is currently serviing a 15-years-to-life sentence.

Mooty is accused of knowing about the abuse by Watson and not stopping it.

"This little boy suffered such abuse and torture from defendant Watson, it eventually caused the toddler to lose his life," Heck said earlier this month. "Just as horrific, the child's own mother knew of this abuse and allowed it to continue."

We'll bring you the judge's decision on Mooty's sentencing, which is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today.



February 8 coverage:

Mother Convicted of Permitting Child Abuse, Which Led to Death of 2-Year-Old Son

DAYTON -- Michelle D. Mooty, 23, of Dayton was found guilty Thursday of permitting child abuse that caused the death of 2-year-old son Levi Barrett.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said co-defendant Joe Curtis Watson IV arrived December 8, 2011, at Good Samaritan Hospital with Levi, who was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. The victim, identified as the son of the Watson's girlfriend, Mooty, had numerous scars and extensive bruising over his entire body, Heck said.

Watson and Mooty were arrested that day. Heck said an autopsy revealed the child had deep contusions and bruising to internal organs. His death was ruled a homicide from blunt force trauma.

Watson was found guilty of murder and three counts of child endangering, and on December 12, 2012, was sentenced to 15 years-to-life in prison.

The jury found that Mooty knew of the abuse Watson routinely inflicted on her child, but still allowed Watson to care for the child. On Thursday, she was found guilty of permitting child abuse, complicity to commit felonious assault and child endangering.

"This little boy suffered such abuse and torture from defendant Watson, it eventually caused the toddler to lose his life," Heck said. "Just as horrific, the child's own mother knew of this abuse and allowed it to continue."

Mooty will be sentenced February 26.



December 12, 2012 coverage:

Man Gets 15-Life for Baby Death; Gives Reason

DAYTON -- A Dayton man gets 15 years to life in prison Tuesday for killing a baby one year ago.  Investigators say 2-year-old Levi Barrett suffered from repeated physical abuse and died last November from severe bruising to his internal organs.

"A piece of paper, that's how I have to see my nephew, a piece of paper," said Levi's uncle Clemmie Hines. "He beat my nephew to death, punched him in the chest and exploded his heart."

Levi's family says Monday was the first time they had heard Joe Watson's excuse for killing their baby. Watson, 27, told the judge the murder was an accident.

"You hit him on accident for doing what," asked the judge.

"Messing with an elephant that he wasn't supposed to be playing with ... it was the first time I ever hit him," Watson said.

The judge didn't believe it was the only time Watson hit his then-girlfriend's son and said if people knew about the abuse, they are guilty for not speaking up.

"There are going to be a lot of people held accountable one day for not protecting that baby," she said. "I find it incomprehensible that somebody would not love and value a child and that somebody would see something and not say anything. Says a lot about our community."

"He never wanted to go home, he would cry and scream. It's kind of hard to take a baby away from its mother," said Levi's uncle Clemmie Hines.

Hines says Levi's father opened a case with Children Services two days before Levi was murdered

"They came to the house and said everything was fine," he said.

Now Watson will spend at least 15 years behind bars for the murder his family says he was forced into admitting to.

"He did plead guilty, I would plead guilty, too, 'cause if he didn't he could get 30-40 years," said Joe's mother Sandra Watson. "I would plead guilty so I could see daylight again."

Levi's mother Michelle Mooty is charged with "permitting child abuse" and she is scheduled to go on trial in February.

"We'll  never forget, but we have to forgive. I know it's something that's hard for people to do but if you want to live a Christian life and see Levi again, that's what you'll have to do," Michelle's grandmother Pauline Lofton said.Mother to be Sentenced Today for Permitting Child Abuse

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