The Windsor, Ontario Connection :
In July, 1980, in Windsor, Irene Kondratowiz, 22, was attacked, but lived after having her throat slashed. Sandra Dalpe, 20, lived through being stabbed from behind. Mary Angus, 30, of Windsor, escaped attack by screaming when she realized she was being followed. She picked Watts out of a photo line-up but was unable to say for sure the attacker was him. Detectives discovered that Watts' car was recorded as leaving Windsor for Detroit after each episode. Watts became Bunten’s leading suspect.
Rebecca Huff's Book is Found:
On November 15, 1980, an Ann Arbor woman contacted police after she became frightened when she discovered that a man was following her. The women hid in a doorway and the police observed their suspect as he frantically searched for her. When they pulled the man over in his car, he was identified as Coral Watts. Inside the car they found screw drivers and wood filing tools, but the most important discovery was a book that had Rebecca Huff’s name on it.
A Move to Houston:
In late January 1981, Watts was brought in on a warrant to give a blood sample. Bunten took the opportunity to talk to Watts but the interview ended without any confession and the blood test failed to link him to any crimes. By that spring, Coral had enough of Bunten and his task force, and made the move to Columbus, Texas, where he found work at an oil company. Houston was 70 miles away, and Watts began spending his weekends cruising the city.
Houston Police Get a Heads Up, but Murders Continue:
Bunten forwarded Watts' file to the Houston police, who were able to locate Watts, but unable to find any evidence linking him directly to any of the Houston crimes.
September 5, 1981, Lillian Tilley was attacked at her Arlington apartment and drowned. Later that same month, Elizabeth Montgomery, 25, died after being stabbed in the chest while out walking her dogs. Shortly afterwards, Susan Wolf, 21, was attacked and murdered, as she got out of her car at her home.
Watts is Finally Caught:
On May 23, 1982, he attacked roommates Lori Lister and Melinda Aguilar, tied them up, and then attempted to drown Lister in their apartment bathtub. Aguilar was able to escape by jumping head first off of her balcony. Lister was saved by a neighbor and Watts was caught and arrested. The body of Michele Maday was found the same day, drowned in her bathtub in a nearby apartment.
Plea Bargain Time:
Under interrogation, Watts refused to talk. Harris County Assistant District Attorney Ira Jones made a deal with Watts in order to get him to confess. Incredibly, he agreed to give him immunity to the charge of murder, if Watts would agree to confess to his murders. Jones was hoping to bring closure to the families of some of the 50 unsolved murders of women in the Houston area. Coral eventually admitted attacking 19 women, 13 of which he confessed to murdering.
Confession of 80 Killings:
By the time it was over, Watts admitted to 80 additional murders in Michigan and Canada, but refused to give details because he did not have an immunity agreement for those murders. Coral pled guilty to one count of burglary with intent to kill. Judge Shaver decided that the water in the bathtub could be constituted as a deadly weapon, which would result in the parole board not being able to count Watts' 'good conduct time,' when determining his parole eligibility.
On September, 3, 1982, Watts was sentenced to 60 years in prison. In 1987, after a failed attempt to escape prison by slipping through the bars, Watts decided to begin appealing his sentence, but his appeal lacked the support of his attorney. But in October, 1987, unrelated to any of Watts appeals, the court decided that criminals must be told that a 'deadly weapon' finding may occur during their indictment and to fail to do so violates the criminal’s rights.
Watts Gets a Lucky Break:
In 1989, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, decided that because the Judge failed to inform Coral that the bathtub water could be deemed a lethal weapon, that he would not be required to serve his entire sentence. Watts was now eligible for retroactive 'good time earned' equaling three days for every one day served. This would mean he would be released from prison on May 9, 2006.
Lawrence Fossi, whose wife was murdered by Watts, is fighting the release with every possible legal maneuver he can find. In the meantime, Michigan, having never agreed to the plea bargain, decided to try him for the Dec. 1, 1979, stabbing death of Helen Dutcher.
Houston detectives are also reopening an old crime of 14-year-old, Emily La Qua, who Watts confessed to killing but was not given immunity for that specific murder.
As reported by the Dallas Observer, last summer the families of several of Watts' victims met for a 20th memorial since his capture and incarceration. During the memorial, some learned for the first time, of the turn of events in regards to Watts' possible early release.
Laura Allen, whose daughter Anna Ledet, was brutally murdered by Watts, has since found solace through God and suggested that it is time to forgive.
Joe Tilley, whose young daughter Linda fought so hard to live, but lost her battle against Watts as he held her under the water of the apartment complex swimming pool, summed up how most of the other families feel about Watts. Tilley said, "Forgiveness cannot be bestowed when forgiveness is not sought. This is a confrontation with pure evil, with principalities and the powers of the air."
Sunday Morning Slasher Found Guilty
< Part 1
Source - Dallas Observer