Mother accused of felony homicide, child abuse in daughter’s death pleads guilty

Latoya Smith

NORFOLK, Va. – A mother charged in the death of her 11-year-old disabled daughter pleaded guilty to felony child abuse and felony homicide in court Wednesday.

33-year-old Latoya Smith, along with boyfriend 43-year-old Demont Harris, were charged in Heaven Watkins’ death. Heaven was found dead inside the family’s apartment on Balview Avenue in Ocean View on May 18, 2018.

The medical examiner ruled the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and torso, and said the manner of death was homicide.

Smith was charged with second degree murder and child abuse, and Harris was charged with murder and aggravated malicious wounding.

In court, a judge amended those charges to felony homicide and child abuse for both defendants.

Smith’s sentencing is scheduled for January 11, 2019 at 11 a.m. She faces up to 50 years in prison when sentenced.

Harris’ next court date is set for November 7, where he will appear in front of a grand jury.