ROBERT C. REED/RECORD FILE PHOTO: William Howard Lail III looks at his attorney Victoria Jayne in Catawba County Superior Court in December 2013. Lail is charged with murder in a child abuse case in Long View.

NEWTON— A Hickory man facing murder and child abuse charges will stand trial in Catawba County Superior Court next week.

William Howard Lail III was arrested in May 2013 in connection to the drowning death of a 1-year-old boy.  

Lail faces one felony count of first-degree murder, four felony counts of intentional child abuse resulting in serious physical injury, one misdemeanor count of failure to appear and one misdemeanor count of probation violation.

Police say Lail was watching his girlfriend’s 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter at a Long View duplex when the boy drowned. After police arrived, serious burns were found on both children.

The mother of the deceased victim, Whitney Ann Weathers, pleaded guilty to one felony count of child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury and four felony counts of child abuse inflicting serious physical injury, according to a press release from 25th District Attorney David Learner’s office from May.

She was sentenced to five consecutive sentences, with a prison term of three to eight years.

She was not home at the time of the drowning.

At around 1 p.m. on May 3, 2013, police say Lail called 911 at a neighbor’s house, where he told the operator the boy was not breathing and that he was attempting CPR.

Lail will be represented by Attorney Victoria Jayne.

He will not face the death penalty.

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