Harvey Wince, a 22-year-old Superior Township man who was charged with first-degree child abuse and torture for a March 2012 incident, was scheduled for retrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict in his November 2012 trial. The retrial has been postponed until March 18 so that James Fifelski, Wince's defense lawyer, can have additional time to review transcripts from the November trial. Judge Darlene O'Brien agreed to the postponement.
At the time of the alleged crime, Wince was 21 years old. Wince is accused of placing a boy who was 3 years old at the time in a bathtub of scalding water so hot that some of the victim's skin came off. Wince was babysitting the boy at the time the alleged crime took place; news reports at AnnArbor.com state that the 3-year-old boy suffered bite marks to his arm, bruising, and first-, second-, and third-degree burns on more than 20% of his body. The boy and his mother lived nearby Wince's MacArthur Boulevard and Superior Township townhouse when she dropped her son off at his home on March 31. The alleged victim and his mother's names were not released in news reports.
Wince's bond was set at $50,000, which Judge Melinda Morris ruled to keep after Fifelski requested that she lower it to 10% of $5,000. The judge declined to lower bond after Blake Hatlem, Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor argued to keep the original bond because of the severity of the charges, and the likelihood of a conviction.
The mother of the boy had Wince baby sit while she was away at work. She testified that when she returned from work at about 4:30 p.m., the boy was fine. She left her son with Wince again the same evening while she went to check on her father, who lived in Ypsilanti. When she called Wince a few hours later to check on her son, she said that he told her that the little boy had gotten into a spat with two other toddlers while playing outdoors, that he had vomited, and that he had given him a bath. Court records also state that Wince told the boy's mother that his skin was red. The boy's mother said that upon returning to Wince's home, she noticed that her son was burned, and that some of his skin was gone, which Wince had swept up and thrown in the garbage.
Wince said that the boy must have turned the hot water on himself after Wince had left the boy in what he described as "lukewarm" water to play a video game in the living room. Fifelski stated that he will vigorously defend his client, and that he believes they have a "very strong" defense.
These types of charges are extremely serious; Michigan child abuse defense attorneys know that if convicted on a charge of first-degree child abuse, individuals may face up to 15 years in prison.
If you have been accused of abusing or neglecting a child, consult with a skilled and capable Michigan criminal defense lawyer immediately who will work to protect your legal rights and freedom.