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Posted on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 9:57 a.m.

Judge denies bond motion for man accused of scalding 3-year-old in bath water

By John Counts


Harvey Wince

Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office

Judge Melinda Morris ruled Monday to keep a $50,000 cash bond on a 21-year-old Superior Township man accused of putting a 3-year-old boy in a scalding bath that was so hot some of the boy’s skin came off.

Attorney James Fifelski asked Morris to lower Harvey Savill Wince’s bond to 10 percent of $5,000. Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Blake Hatlem argued the bond should be kept at $50,000 due to the high likelihood of conviction and the severity of the incident.

Morris denied the motion. A trial is set for Nov. 5.

Wince was charged with torture, first-degree child abuse and resisting arrest after the 3-year-old boy he was baby-sitting suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns on more than 20 percent of his body. The boy also was bruised and had bite marks on his arm.

Many of the details were revealed at a preliminary examination in May when the case was bound over to circuit court. The 3-year-old’s mother testified she dropped off her son at Wince’s townhouse on MacArthur Boulevard in Superior Township the morning of March 31.

The woman and boy lived nearby. does not identify juvenile victims. The boy’s mother also will not be identified, as it could reveal the identity of the victim.

Wince baby-sat the boy while the mother was at work. She returned at 4:30 p.m. and her son was fine, she testified. The woman then went to check on her father in Ypsilanti and again left her son with Wince. A few hours later, she talked on the telephone with Wince, who said the boy had gotten into a skirmish with a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old while playing outside. Wince also told her the boy had vomited, so he had given the boy a bath and that the boy’s skin was red, according to court records.

When the boy’s mother picked him up, she noticed he was burned.

“I saw his feet (were) red, then I got scared and I didn’t know what to do. I was in shock,” she said. “I just saw that his skin was gone. I saw some in the bathroom. (Wince) swept the skin and threw it in the garbage.”

The boy was taken to the hospital and eventually ended up at the University of Michigan Hospital’s intensive burn unit. He was in the hospital from April 1 to May 21, according to court records.

Wince later told police he drew a lukewarm, ankle-deep bath, set the boy in the tub and went into the living room to play the video game “Call of Duty.” He later found the boy standing in the bathroom with “soggy” skin, Wince told police. He alleges the boy must have turned on the hot water himself.

“He said that he pulled the skin off … and eventually put it in the trash can,” said Det. Craig Raisanen, who also testified at May’s preliminary examination. Raisanen eventually searched the townhouse and found the skin. He described it as looking like “a surgical glove” in the trash.

Raisanen also used a thermometer to test the heat of the water coming from the bathtub’s faucet, testifying that it got as hot as 120 degrees.

At Monday’s bond motion hearing, Fifelski said Raisanen’s measuring technique was far from perfect.

“The way that the water was measured in this case was dubious,” he said.

Dr. Lisa Markman, assistant clinical professor and associate medical director of the child protection team at Mott’s Children Hospital, treated the boy in the days following the incident. She testified that a child’s skin will burn in temperatures ranging from 120 to 160 degrees.

And the hotter the water, the quicker it happens, she said. Markman testified that since the majority of the boy’s burns were on his legs and buttocks, it’s likely the boy “was forcefully restrained in the water.”

Markman also testified the boy’s bruises probably weren’t from roughhousing with other children as Wince claimed.

“I don’t believe that a 2- and 4-year-old could cause the extensive injuries that were seen to (the boy’s) torso, arm, face and legs,” she said.

When questioned by police, Wince confessed to biting the boy on the arm. While arguing the bond motion, Fifelski described it as “a playful bite.”

Wince, who had a bench warrant out for his arrest on a home invasion charge, was arrested immediately after questioning at the detective bureau of the sheriff’s office. As Raisanen and other officers attempted to handcuff Wince, he began fighting back.

“He began to kick wildly,” Raisanen said, which is why Wince also is being charged with resisting arrest.

Wince continues to be held at the Washtenaw County Jail.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Jim Osborn

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 5:05 a.m.

" testifying that it got as hot as 120 degrees." said Det. Craig Raisanen. "The way that the water was measured in this case was dubious," Mr. James Fifelski, his attoney said. 1) Why can't a policeman correctly measure water temperature? I use a thermocouple wire with an industrial digital meter. They now sell digital consumer versions for $20 for cooking. I'm sure Babies R Us has something... 2) Why would the silly lawyer even mention this, as a lower temperature is safe and a high temperature harms his client' case. 120 degrees is not a hot hot-water heater. He should have been happy with this testimony. I like to shave with 120 -125 degree water, I turned my water heater down last week to 115 - 120 when I had 3 and 7 year-old house guests over. Can 120 degree water actually harm a 3 year old's skin when briefly held in contact? I doubt it. I'm speculating, but it seems as if the only way water 120 degrees can harm a child would be with prolonged contact. This would be forced, since if the kid turned a faucet by mistake he would leave the tub. Who would leave young kids alond with the hot water faucet that they can turn on, Then there is drowning. should do an article with the same , and different medical doctor and other burn specialists to inform us about how sensitive children's skin is to warm and hot water. I'd like to know more.

Renee S.

Tue, Oct 23, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

The reason a cooler temperature is more damaging testimony is, as stated in the article, it takes a longer time to burn the skin. A hotter temperature would be more consistent with an accidental burn from a tap that was set too high. A lower temperature would require that the boy be forced to sit in water that was too hot for some duration of time.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

I would like to watch you hold your hand or back of forearm in 120 water for even 2 minutes and see what happens to your skin. Mine is set at 110 and even an adult can't hold their hand in it to wash hands without turning on some cold water with it.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

I recognize the need for defense attorneys but Fifelski is something else. His comments alone will infuriate a jury.


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

He'll probably get sentenced to time served with the judge he got.


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

He's lucky he got "judge" Morris..............he'll probably get sentenced with time served while waiting for trial. Her mind works in mysterious ways.


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

Sick, sick, sick. The depravity in this situation is beyond description. It appears on its face as if this person cannot be trusted to be part of civilized society.

Dutch Thomas

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

The penalty for these charges is insufficient, If found guilty he should get the max and the Prosecutor and victims need to show up at every parole hearing and keep him in prison for life or until he is too old, feeble or ill to harm a fly. There is no redemption for degenerates.


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

Half the time though most of these perps do get time served and are out in 10. I agree the severity is never enough to what they do to these children who have done absolutely nothing to deserve it. Can't wait to see what the outcome is.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

How does one comment on such evil? The alleged perpetrator, if convicted, should be sent to Jackson Prison for a long, long time (whatever the maximum punishment is). I was just wondering how hot the shower water gets there. Prayers and best wishes to the little boy and his family. What a terrible thing this is. I hope you can get past it as soon as possible. Three is such a beautiful age for a child and his family.


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

One thing I left out: I am so grateful that we have the Mott Children's Hospital in our area. The next time I see a fund raising drive for Mott, I'll be sure to donate.


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

My total sympathy goes out to the injured child and to the mother as well. No child should suffer such abuse and no parent should have their trust betrayed to this degree. We can only hope that justice is served all around. Whoever abused that pre-school boy should be permanently liable for the cost of his treatment. (Regretting that solution can't be enforced.) We won't know for certain until a verdict is levied but it also appears that our Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department did an outstanding job in law enforcement while handling their end.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

" our Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department did an outstanding job in law enforcement while handling their end." Is this praise?


Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

These charges might be enough to give even Fr. Flanagan second thoughts.

Dog Guy

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

Not even the appropriate name of Wince could justify any comment here.