Robert Dean Watkins
  May 12, 2011 - September 8, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial
 (The picture above is assumed to be Robert as as a toddler.
If you have different information, please let me know)

When Robert Watkins was taken to the hospital, Doctors were told that he had fallen down a flight of stairs that had only six steps and that he had hurt his head. Melissa Brittle, who was one of Robert's caretakers, brought him to the hospital on September 5 and he was in very bad shape. Doctors discovered that Robert had many more injuries and none of them were consistent with a child who had fallen down a short flight of stairs. Sadly, Robert's biological mother had given him to her stepfather, Raymond Brittle and his wife Melissa, to take care of, they didn't do their job and Robert ended up dying at their hands.

Living in the home with these two monsters were Robert and four other children between the ages of five months and 15 years old, three boys and and one girl and all are listed as being cared for by Melissa. After Robert's death, all of those children were removed from the home and they were reported to show no signs of abuse. Robert had not been so lucky and suffered fractures to his skull as well as lacerations, being beaten with a belt, having his teeth brushed with a wire BBQ cleaning brush, having his body kicked and being lifted up by his head. The day he died from being beaten, he had refused to eat dinner.

The Sheriff's Office started a homicide investigation and Raymond Matthew Brittle was arrested and charged with first and second degree murder and was being held without bail:

"He admitted to his wife that he lost control"
Tammy Leache - States Attorney

Raymond and Melissa had only been the caregivers for Robert for about six months. Assistant Public Defender Kevin Young was given the case and managed to get a $750,000. bail for Raymond after the initial bail denial. While Raymond had at least had the decency to look "sad" in his mug shot, Melissa has a smirk on her face that makes a person want to slap her.  Raymond was arrested and charged with first and second degree child abuse while Melissa was arrested and charged with second degree child abuse and being an accessory to what happened.

Reports said that Raymond had become upset when Robert refused to eat his dinner and he had whipped him with a belt, shaken by his head and kicked him so hard that his head had been bashing into the cabinets. Melissa was in the room at the time and she just kept washing the dishes:

"At one point she said she had to leave the room because it became so bad"
Tammy Leache - Assistant State's Attorney

Melissa was the one who took Robert to the hospital and told them that he had fallen down the stairs. The Sheriff's Office said that Melissa had lied to cover up the abuse because she was afraid to be arrested. Melissa agreed to call Raymond and allow the conversation to be recorded:

"Why did you do it to him"

"Missy you were right there when I did everything. You said he needed his a** beat"

Though the other children in the home had been told to lie about what happened, interviews were still taking place:

"There was definitely corporal punishment going on, but we don't know for sure to
what extent. The children were pretty confused after being prompted so much from
their parents. From what we know, the little boy had been taking the brunt of it starting
about a month before he was killed. The level of abuse had become a daily thing"
Tammy Leache

Robert had been given to his step grandfather by his biological mother about six months before his death. Tammy Leache wanted Melissa's bail to increase from $350,000., not wanting her to get out, but since she didn't have a job, Tammy wasn't worried that she would raise bail. Public Defender Kevin Young thought that since Melissa didn't have a criminal past, her bail should be lowered:

"She did cooperate with the Police. Insight into the case came from her. She's trying
find a way to establish an income"

District Judge Janice Ambrose left the bail in the current amount:

"I understand the severity of this case. You can't hardly get worse charges than this"

In November of 2014 Raymond Matthew Brittle, who was by then 40 years old, plead guilty to first and second degree child abuse resulting in death in a deal where the murder charges were dropped. Raymond was facing 55 years in prison and would be sentenced in February of 2015.

Melissa Dawn Brittle, who was 37 years old at the time, also plead guilty to first degree child abuse resulting in death after being charged for not protecting Robert and she was facing 20 years in prison and would be sentenced in January of 2015.

It came out that the remaining children in the home had been told to lie to Police and other authorities and say that Robert had fallen down the stairs.

Thank you to the anonymous person who sent me this story.

UPDATE: November 28, 2014

I was sent a link to a Facebook page for Melissa Brittle, on the page are pictures of what COULD be Robert. I am going to be adding them below and if anyone has information showing that they are NOT Robert, please let me know. Melissa's Facebook page has pictures of several children and this is the youngest on the page other than the baby pictures like what I have above as Robert's picture.

On her Facebook page Melissa tells people that a six month old baby and Robert are her adopted grandsons and she lists her job as:

Taking care of my family at: StayHomeMom April 10, 1998 to present.

I think she failed miserably at her "job".


Thank you goes out to Maria who allows us to see what Robert looked like before he died.

UPDATE: March 23, 2105

In March of 2015, I was once again staring at the face of Melissa Brittle in her mug shot, looking smug and not one bit sorry for the death of a child. Melissa's Lawyer, Mary Drawbaugh was in court saying that Melissa had been a victim on domestic violence at the hands of Raymond Brittle, that Raymond was the monster in this case. Melissa had been set to testify against Raymond, however, he plead gulity and avoided a trial. Melissa had filed for divorce and when Raymond had not responded, the divorce was automatically granted.

Mary Drawbaugh was asking for leniency for Melissa stating that she had been rehabilitated since being in jail and that she had cooperated during the investigation. Mary Drawbaugh was asking for the lower end of the sentencing scale which would have been 12 to 20 years. State Attorney, Charlie Smith asked that she receive a sentence of 20 years.

Judge William R. Nicklas Jr. held up a picture of Robert and said:

"It's him and it's his live that we're talking about"

Judge Nicklas added that he thinks domestic violence is a serious problem, however, he could not put aside Melissa's failure to act and the text messages that had been shown in court. Melissa was sentenced to 40 years in prison, with 20 of that suspended and she would be on probation for five years after her release. Jennifer Ann Ward spoke up after the sentencing and said:

"It will never be enough because you sentenced our two year
old grandson to death"

Also in March of 2015 Raymond Matthew Brittle was 40 years old when he was sentenced to 40 in prison. Margaret Teahan, his Lawyer, had tried to give the image that he was a "dim-witted alcoholic" with bottled up rage about the abuse he had suffered at the hands of his own father.

Judge G. Edward Dwyer spoke about how Raymond's own son had testified about the abuse Robert had suffered every week since he had first moved into the home in 2013 adding that the abused had escalate and become more frequent in the few weeks before Robert died:

"This has to be one of the most horrendous, if not the most horrendous
case of child abuse I've ever seen. This is just mind boggling"

Raymond was given 55 years though 15 years was suspended and he was going to have to serve at least 20 years, only half of the 40 before he would be eligible for parole. Jennifer Ann Ward, Grandmother of Robert had begged the court for the maximum sentence and with tears in her eyes said to Raymond:

"I pray in prison there is a bully bigger and badder than you"

I would like to think that Jennifer was speaking out of anger and that in her heart, she could never wish harm on anyone, even the man who killed her grandchild.

Thank you goes out to Betty for sending me this update.

This page was created on November 22, 2014
Death occurred in the state of Maryland

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