Cape Girardeau, Missouri – Heather Watson, a Missouri woman, has been sentenced to 25 years in a state correctional facility for the murder of Josh Taylor. In April 2021, Watson, along with her co-defendant Joshua Proffer, assaulted Taylor, a disabled man, with a bar of soap stuffed in a sock, waterboarding him, and leaving him for dead in a shallow pond.
Watson had previously reached a plea deal with the Bollinger County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, pleading guilty to second-degree murder. Circuit Court Judge Scott A. Lipke credited her with 994 days already served. Proffer, who also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, had been sentenced to 25 years in prison with the possibility of parole.
The crime came to light when deputies from the Bollinger County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call about an unresponsive male at a residence on Bollinger County Road. Upon arrival, they found Taylor lying face up and partially submerged in a pond on the property. Taylor had multiple facial injuries, including bruising of the eyes, abrasions on the forehead, bruising of the nose, and lacerations to the lip and above both eyes. Red marks consistent with ligature marks were also observed on his left forearm and wrist.
According to the witness, Taylor had been restrained to a chair inside Proffer and Watson’s residence. Watson proceeded to assault him by repeatedly striking him with a bar of soap inside a sock and using closed fist strikes. She also placed a towel over his head and continuously poured water onto it. Proffer was present during the assault, giving instructions to Watson.
After the attack, Proffer and Watson believed Taylor to be deceased and dragged his body into the pond. The motive for the brutal assault remains unclear.
Sheriff Casey A. Graham expressed hopes that the conclusion of this investigation would bring closure to the victim’s family.