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Coral Eugene Watts - The Sunday Morning Slasher


Coral Eugene Watts

Coral Eugene Watts

Prison Picture

Sunday Morning Slasher:

Carl Eugene Watts has confessed to more than 80 murders of women in Texas, Michigan and Ontario, Canada, yet he was set to be paroled in 2006. How could this happen?

Watts was born in Fort Hood, Texas November 7, 1953, to Richard and Dorothy Watts. His parents divorced in 1955, his mother moved to Detriot, and Carl spent time with his grandmother. As a child he had megingitis and high fevers and developed learning disabilites. He also enjoyed hunting and skinning rabbits.

First Arrest:

By the 1960s, Watts was described as a polite and soft-spoken young man. He had athletic ability and participated in the Golden Gloves boxing program, although academically he was considered below average. By the age of 15, he demonstrated violent behavior. While doing his paper route, he knocked on the apartment door of a woman and attacked her when she opened the door. When arrested he told police, "He just felt like beating someone up."


In September 1969, prompted by his lawyer, Watts was institutionalized in a hospital in Detroit. Within three months, he was evaluated and placed on outpatient treatment by Dr. Gary Ainsworth. In his final review of Watts, Dr. Ainsworth stated, "This patient is a paranoid young man who is struggling for control of strong homicidal impulses. His behavior controls are faulty, and there is a high potential for violent acting out. This individual is considered dangerous."

High school & College:

Watts continued high school after his release from the hospital. He was involved in sports but continued to decline academically. He was a drug user, a loner, and was often disciplined by school officials for his volatile behavior with female classmates. He graduated at age 19. During this time, he rarely attended outpatient treatment. He was accepted to Lane College on a football scholarship, but due to injuries he was unable to complete his first year, and returned home to Detroit.

Second Psychological Evaluation:

Watts returned to college after being accepted into a special scholarship and mentoring program sponsored by Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Prior to attending the program, Watts was again evaluated at the outpatient facility, where it was determined that he was still a danger and had a "strong impulse to beat up women," yet due to the right to confidentiality policies, staffers were unable to alert authorities or the college Watts was attending.

A Cat Circling Its Prey:

On October 25, 1974, Lenore Knizacky answered her door and was attacked by a man who said he was looking for Charles. She fought back and survived. On October 30, Gloria Steel, 19, was found dead with 33 stab wounds to her chest. A witness reported speaking with a man at Steele’s complex, who said he was looking for Charles. Diane Williams reported being attacked on November 12, under the same circumstances. She survived and managed to see the attacker's car and make a report to the police.

First Confession:

Watts was picked out in a line-up by Knizacky and Williams and arrested on assault and battery charges. He admitted to attacking 15 females, but refused to talk about the Steele murder. His attorney arranged for Watts to commit himself into the Kalamazo State Hospital. The hospital psychiatrist investigated Watts' background and learned that at the previous institution, Watts was said to have possibly killed two women by choking them. He diagnosed Watts with an anti-social personality disorder.

Competently Dangerous:

Prior to Watts' trial, he had a court ordered evaluation at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ann Arbor. The examining doctor described Watts as dangerous and felt he would most likely attack again and was found competent to stand trial. Carl, or Coral as he now called himself, pled 'no contest,' and received a one year sentence on the assault and battery charges but was never charged in the murder of Steel. In June, 1976, he was out of jail and back home in Detroit with his mother.

The Sunday Morning Slasher Emerges:

Ann Arbor is 40 miles west of Detroit and the home of the University of Michigan. In April 1980, the Ann Arbor police were called to the home of 17-year-old Shirley Small. She had been attacked and repeatedly cut with an instrument resembling a scalpel. She bled to death on the sidewalk where she fell. Glenda Richmond, 26, was the next victim. She was found by her doorway, dead from over 28 stab wounds. Rebecca Greer, 20, was next. She died outside her door after being stabbed 54 times.

A task force was formed, led by Detective Paul Bunten, to investigate the murders that occurred within five months of each other. The task force was dealing with no evidence and no witnesses.

Sergeant James Arthurs contacted the task force after reading about the murders. He told them of his past experience with Watts and the similarities of Watts' previous crimes to those now under investigation.

By this time, Watts was working with his stepfather at a trucking company, had a child, then later met another woman who he married.

In October, 1979, Watts was arrested for prowling around in Southfield, Detroit suburb. The charges were later dropped. Investigators did note, however, that during the previous year, five women in the same suburb were assaulted on separate occasions, but with similar circumstances. None were killed, nor could any of them identify their attacker.

By 1979 and 1980, attacks on women in Detroit and surrounding areas became more frequent and violent and similar in style.

  • October 8, 1979: Peggy Pochmara, 22, strangled, Detroit.
  • October 31, 1979: Jeanne Clyne, 44, stabbed, Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan.

  • March 11, 1980: Hazel Connof, 23, strangled, Detroit.

  • March 31, 1980: Denise Dunmore, 23, strangled, Detroit.

  • April 20, 1980: Shirley Small, 17, Ann Arbor.

  • May 31, 1980: Linda Monteiro, 27, strangled, Detroit.

  • July, 1980: Glenda Richmond, 26, stabbed, Ann Arbor.

  • September 14, 1980: Rebecca Huff, 20, stabbed, Ann Arbor.

By May 1980, Watts was divorced. His wife stated that it was due to his strange behavior, which included his habit of leaving their home for hours, immediately after they engaged in sex. Within months, attacks in neighboring Wisteria, Ontario were being reported that were of the same nature as those in Ann Arbor and Detroit.

Next > The Wisteria Connection and More Murders

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