Man gets 38 years for punch that killed his girlfriend in Texarkana last year


NEW BOSTON, Texas: A man who claimed he only punched his girlfriend once in the face before she suffered a fatal brain injury was sentenced to 38 years in prison Thursday.

A Bowie County jury found Dontavious Dishawn Haney, 21, guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with serious bodily injury, family violence in the death of 21-year-old Denise Watson.

Haney and Watson were living together in an apartment on Peach Street in Texarkana, Texas, when she suffered a fatal head injury on Jan. 24, 2020. She died the next day.

Haney claimed that he punched Watson once in the face. She suffered facial fractures and a brain bleed which led to her death.

Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards argued that Haney “blamed the victim” and “showed no remorse.”

Richards and First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp asked the jury to send a message to others who abuse their domestic partners.

“We’re talking about a loss of life. We’re talking about beating a woman and watching her die,” Crisp argued.

Haney was upset because Watson wanted to end their relationship. Haney claimed he punched Watson once because she knocked his phone from his hand.

Assistant Public Defenders Clayton Haas and Bart Craytor asked the jury to consider Haney’s age, 19, at the time of the assault, and his lack of a prior felony conviction.

202nd District Judge John Tidwell presided over the trial.

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