Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 29, 2014

Man charged in attack on pregnant woman

TRAVERSE CITY — A Traverse City man faces criminal charges from a protracted assault in which authorities said he repeatedly struck his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach, barricaded her inside a bedroom and threatened her with loaded guns.

Grand Traverse County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg on Tuesday authorized felony imprisonment and misdemeanor aggravated assault charges against Keith Robert Watson, 21, in 86th District Court. Moeggenberg wants to speak with the victim face-to-face and find out the whether the fetus was harmed before she considers filing additional charges.

“There definitely could be more, and there’s an investigation pending,” Moeggenberg said.

A lengthy police report details the victim’s account that Watson became upset over her pregnancy, struck her several times in the left ear and created a makeshift barricade to block her inside their bedroom between Saturday and Sunday. Watson then brought out and loaded four different weapons — a rifle, a shotgun, a pistol and an AR-15 — and threatened to kill her, himself and any police who arrived.

The victim managed to capture a portion of the incident on video with her iPhone. The police report states Watson can be heard several times on the video making threats and is also seen holding a handgun.

At one point the victim managed to use her phone to contact a friend, but Watson found out and started “kneeing her several times in the stomach,” the police report states. The victim eventually convinced Watson to take her to the emergency room because her pains began to worsen, authorities said.

The police report states Watson admitted he pushed the victim around the ear. He said they were “wrestling” around on the floor and that he shoved her several times in the stomach.

“Out of nowhere, Watson voluntarily stated, ‘I never told her I was going to kill her,’” the police report states.

Moeggenberg said Watson could face additional charges if the fetus was harmed. She said a video arraignment is scheduled today at 8:30 a.m. Imprisonment carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

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