Clark County

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Verdict expected this week

The murder trial of Patrick and Joy Watkins resumes at 9 a.m. Monday in Clark Circuit Court. The trial is expected to go to the jury for a verdict sometime this week. Here is a summary of what has happened in the case:

The case

Patrick's daughter Michaela Watkins, 10, was found dead at the Watkinses' Winchester apartment on March 11, 2007. The girl had bruises and scrapes all over her body, including 35 injuries to her head. Hot water had scalded the backs of the girl's legs and buttocks, which caused second-degree burns. An autopsy revealed that a severe chest injury caused by a hard blow from a blunt object was the primary cause of Michaela's death.

What prosecutors say

Prosecutors say Patrick and Joy Watkins held Michaela down in a tub of scalding water on March 10, 2007, the day before she died. At some point, the couple beat Michaela, which ultimately killed the girl, prosecutors say. During her opening statements, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Heidi Engel displayed poster-sized images of Michaela's bruised body to the jury, which moved at least one juror to tears.

What Patrick and Joy Watkins say

■ Patrick and Joy Watkins have denied fatally beating or burning Michaela. They told police that Michaela ran her own bath water and sat in the tub the day before she died.

■ Patrick and Joy Watkins say the girl hit her head in the bathroom as they tried to get her out of the water, but seemed fine after that. The couple say they didn't realize something was wrong with Michaela until March 11, 2007, when they took her and their other three children to Red River Gorge for a picnic.

■ Joy Watkins told police that Michaela was unresponsive on the ride home from the gorge. But Patrick Watkins said the girl was fine until she fell down the steps of their apartment when they returned home.

■ Joy Watkins told police that she and Michaela got into a "tussle" the day before she died. Joy Watkins said she backhanded Michaela twice and bit the girl behind the ear.

Key witnesses

■ Medical examiner Dr. Cristin Rolf performed Michaela's autopsy. She said the girl's injuries occurred within 36 hours of her death. Rolf testified that a fall would not have caused such extensive injuries.

■ Winchester Police Detective Harold Jones played DVDs of the interviews he conducted with Patrick and Joy Watkins immediately after Michaela's death. In the interviews, Patrick and Joy Watkins repeatedly defended themselves and denied any suggestion they killed Michaela.

■ Patrick Watkins' sister Stephanie Rader testified that her brother wanted her to come to his apartment March 11, 2007, but wouldn't disclose what was wrong over the phone. When she arrived, he told her Michaela was dead. Rader testified that Patrick Watkins said he was going to jail and repeatedly asked, "What have I done?"

■ Dr. Andrew Hamon, a Clark County deputy coroner, examined Michaela about 5:15 p.m. on March 11, 2007. He testified that the girl died four to six hours before he arrived.

What's next

Defense attorneys will begin calling their witnesses Monday morning. The jury should begin deliberations before the end of the week.

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