Nacogdoches child scalder's punishment to be decided in March

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches man who pleaded guilty Tuesday to burning his then two-year-old son will wait until March to learn his punishment.

District Judge Ed Klein recessed the case until March 5, pending a pre-sentence investigation.

Wednesday morning, a pediatric abuse doctor testified about the injuries to Za'Taurean Pleasant. The doctor said the burn patterns were not consistent to tap water burns but rather indicated the child was sitting face up as scalding water was poured onto him.

Back in March 2010, Anthony Watts was at his Eastwood Terrace apartment supposedly giving the 2 child a bath. It ended with the child burned over 80 percent of his body. Specialists in Houston and Galveston burn hospitals kept him alive.

Police testified it was at the hospital emergency room where they saw the baby's skin peel off onto the bed. One officer testified the baby wouldn't lay still and it appeared to him that the child was writhing in pain.

Watts says he can't read. A family member fills out the forms.

Defense attorney Ed McFarland will be asking for probation. He and co-counsel referenced Watts' limited IQ more than once in court.

"We know we will get a fair shake as far as the judge is concerned and we're hoping that for a good result," McFarland said.

However, the critical burns over 70 percent of Pleasant's body speak volumes.

"It was all just an accident," Watts said.

Yet watts gave numerous accounts of what happened, including hot bath water from the tap burned the child. The doctor said the burns were too serious for that. Watts eventually admitted pouring a pot of near boiling water over the child. Defense attorneys suggested manipulative family members may have put the varying versions into watts' mind.

"I don't know why he told different stories, but in my heart I feel it wasn't done intentionally," said his cousin, Brea Thorn.

Watts future is unknown. So is his child's. "Deuce" is in school, but scars remain. His fragile skin may not accommodate his growth. Doctors say he will deal with the injuries for the rest of his life.

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