Man could face life in prison after conviction for torturing child
A 22-year-old Superior Township man faces a sentence of up to life in prison after a jury found him guilty on torture and child abuse charges last week.
Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office
Harvey Wince was convicted during his second trial in the case, stemming from an April 1, 2012, incident in which he severely burned a 3-year-old boy, according to the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office. Wince was originally tried in the case in November 2012, but a hung jury demanded a retrial.
The trial concluded on Thursday, resulting in a conviction on first-degree child abuse and torture charges, Sgt. Geoffrey Fox said Monday.
“The motives for Wince’s actions are unknown,” Fox said in a statement.
On April 1, 2012, Wince was watching the boy at a home in the 8900 block of MacArthur Boulevard in Superior Township. Wince’s 17-year-old girlfriend was usually the primary babysitter for the boy but had other plans that day, so the boy was left in Wince’s care.
During the evening, the simple babysitting job took a violent turn. Fox said in a statement Wince intentionally placed the boy in scalding hot bath water and held him there, causing severe burns. Investigators estimated the water was between 120 and 125 degrees.
Investigators said Wince held the boy in the water for at least one minute. At a preliminary exam, the boy's mother testified that the boy’s skin was falling off due to the severity of the burns.
The boy had to be treated at the University of Michigan Hospital’s intensive care burn unit from April 1 until May 21 last year, records show. Officials said burns covered 18 percent of the boy’s body.
The boy also suffered significant bruising all over his body and a lacerated liver due to blunt force trauma during the time Wince was watching him. Wince admitted to biting the child on the arm, Fox said.
Wince told police he put the boy in the bathtub with an ankle-deep amount of lukewarm water and went to play the video game “Call of Duty.” Returning to the bathroom later to check on the boy, he found him standing in the bathroom with “soggy” skin, according to Wince’s police statement. He said the boy likely turned the hot water on himself.
Wince was charged and arraigned in the case on April 4, 2012. The case originally went to trial but ended in a hung jury on Nov. 5.
James Fifelski, Wince’s attorney, was not immediately available for comment Monday morning.
Wince is held at the Washtenaw County Jail on a $50,000 cash or surety bond. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in the case at 1:30 p.m. April 22 by Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Darlene O’Brien, according to jail records.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison on both the torture and first-degree child abuse charges.