Defense asks for dismissal for woman who kept husband’s body in freezer in Joplin
JOPLIN, Mo. — Barbara J. Watters appeared in Jasper County Court today in Joplin, Missouri. She’s charged with abandonment of a corpse after police found the body of her husband, Paul N. Barton, in a freezer in their Joplin home on November 12th, 2019.
The Joplin Police Department said the autopsy on Barton showed no signs of foul play.
Today in court, Watters’s Defense Attorney, John Young, filed to have the case dismissed, stating she didn’t violate any words of a certain statute. Young read from case law that next of kin has the right to choose where they are buried.
KOAM Photojournalist Trace Buckle was in the courtroom during the hearing.
Buckle says the defense made a comparison, saying what would have happened if she called authorities. The defense said the body would have been taken to the morgue and put it in a freezer, just like Watters did, preserving the body.
Prosecuting Attorney Theresa Kenney brought up that Watters abandoned the corpse by leaving it in the freezer and not alerting authorities.
Young said the body was not abandoned. He said Watters knew where it was – it was six feet away from her bed.
Judge Joseph Hensley is taking the motion to dismiss under advisement. He plans to have a decision by Friday (Dec. 13).
Until then, Watters will remain under house arrest.
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