Judge denies dismissal in Barbara Watters ‘abandonment of corpse’ case

Judge denies dismissal in Barbara Watters ‘abandonment of corpse’ case
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Barbara Watters, Joplin suspect charged with abandonment of corpse

Judge Joseph Hensley denies a motion to dismiss Barbara Watters’s case. 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 S. Vermont Ave. on November 12th, 2019.

The Joplin Police Department said the autopsy on Barton showed no signs of foul play.

Watters appeared in court on Wednesday. Her defense attorney, John Young, filed to have the case dismissed claiming she didn’t violate any statute. Young read from case law that next of kin has the right to choose where they are buried.

Young compared what Watters did to what a coroner would do – put the body in a freezer, preserving it.

Prosecuting Attorney Theresa Kenney brought up that Watters abandoned the corpse by leaving it in the freezer and not alerting authorities. Young argued that the body was not abandoned. He said Watters knew where it was – it was six feet away from her bed.

Today, Judge Hensley released his decision, in part stating that whether Watters’s actions fall under ‘abandonment of a corpse’ are fact questions, which are resolved by a trial judge or a jury of the defendant’s peers.

You can read the order here:


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