Saturday, January 9, 2010

Custodial dad "accused" of shooting 10-year-old daughter free on bail, but blocked from visitation with other kids (Oak Point, Texas)

Why the hell did custodial dad DUKE LAWRENCE WATROUS have custody of these 3 kids? Check his track record, which the Texas officials obviously ignored.

1) Dad had "restricted" visitation with his two children from his first marriage because of domestic violence and child abuse.

2) As recently as last April, Dad was arrested for physically abusing and injuring one of these children while "visiting," but the incident was subsequently "no-billed" by a grand jury. (Maybe we should take another look at this "no-bill".)

Then Daddy just recently gets custody of the kids from a second marriage. Well, guess he's so gosh darn excited about it that he does a lot of beer-swilling on Christmas Eve and manages to shoot and kill the 10-year-old daughter in an "accident."

Note that Daddy is apparently sober enough, though, to remember to hide the gun in a locked safe (tamper with evidence). And he so nicely leaves the task of calling 911 to the 9-year-old son. How considerate. While Daddy's trying to save his @$$, a little boy is desperately trying to see if medics can save his sister's life.

Now the same Daddy is out on bail. How generous of the Texas legal system. Only Texas CPS has now decided he can't see the surviving kids. A little like shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped, don't ya think? And just a little bit late for the 10-year-old daughter who had her brains blown out, isn't? And for some unexplained reason, Mom is being limited to supervised visitation, though to my knowledge, she never got drunk and shot one of the kids.

So why is Texas bending over backwards for this guy who has been nothing but bad news from the get-go?

Father accused in girl’s shooting can’t see children
Court: Two siblings were in room when 10-year-old died

12:57 AM CST on Saturday, January 9, 2010
By Donna Fielder / Staff Writer

An Oak Point man accused of shooting to death his young daughter on Christmas Eve is free on bail, but a court order issued Thursday continues to forbid him access to the two of his other children who were in the house that night.

Duke Lawrence Watrous, 36, was released on $100,000 bail Dec. 30 after a judge agreed to reduce bail from the original $200,000 set when he was arraigned on the charge. He also was charged with endangering a child and tampering with evidence.

But on Thursday a judge agreed with Child Protective Services lawyers that he should not have access to the children and that his former wife Brandy Michelle Washburn-Rives should have only supervised visitation with them at CPS headquarters. She recently lost custody of the children, and they lived with him.

The judge’s order specifically restricts either parent from entering school property at the schools the children attend.

The records state that a suitable relative has not been found to place the children with and that they will remain in foster care.

Both parents previously had been investigated by CPS workers in Texas and in Oklahoma.

“We’re pleased that the judge followed the request of CPS, our client,” said First Assistant District Attorney Jamie Beck. “And we will support that as long as this investigation is ongoing, at the minimum. The two surviving children need to be protected.”

According to court records, Watrous had been drinking beer and was recklessly handling a handgun when it discharged with 10-year-old Ashley, her 9-year-old brother and 1-year-old sister in the room.

The large-caliber bullet struck Ashley in the head, and the boy called 911. Paramedics tried to save the girl but were not able to resuscitate her.

Watrous was charged with manslaughter on Christmas Day and with tampering with evidence and endangerment to a child a few days later. Those charges related to the other children being in the room when the gun discharged and the allegation that he hid the gun in a locked safe after firing it.

The Department of Family and Protective Services took the children from the home that night on an emergency order.

On Thursday, the department, acting through the Denton County District Attorney’s Office, asked District Judge Jake Collier to continue the temporary order in light of lawyers’ requests for both parents asking that they be allowed to have them.

Neither parent appeared in court that day but both were represented by attorneys. Neither could be reached for comment for this story.

Court records show that Watrous was arrested on a charge of injury to a child in April but subsequently was no-billed by a grand jury. That stemmed from an allegation from CPS that he had physically abused another of his children who lived with his mother but who visited Watrous.

Watrous had two additional children from a prior marriage, according to court records. He had restricted visitation with those children. His former wife Aude Freeman accused him of physically abusing her and their children.