John Watson III

I have mentioned before that I have lists all over my house of names that I have acquired of cases I want to search for here.  At one point I sat down with them all and put them into a Word document.  Of course that has not prevented me from making even more lists but at least the majority are together.  The other day I decided I needed to work more on that list and make an attempt to work my way down it.  I also took bit of a different approach than I normally have.  I have found in the past that when I spend days just doing research on cases and not getting around to actually doing them I lose interest but I thought if I did three or four I could handle it.  So far so good.  I've been able to continue paying at least some attention to more shows while I research a few cases. It is when I sit down here to compile it together that things need to be quiet.  By doing things this way it is likely that there will be a lot more cases of spouse on spouse crimes for a bit because admittedly I skip over them quite often. This is one of them.

In July of 2006 retired math teacher John Watson III and his wife Evie (sometimes spelled Evey) were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  His gift to her was a trip to Las Vegas.  John headed to Vegas on July 9th, just after a party they had, apparently driving himself.  Evie flew into Vegas on the 11th. The next day John called one of their grown sons, Michael, and told him that his mother was missing.  He claimed that she had met a woman and was hanging out with her and had never returned.  John did not file a missing persons report, nor did he apparently attempt to look for her.  He stayed in Vegas for another few days though.  On the 16th he made his way to one of Evie's cousins homes where another son Juan met him.  John began telling stories that obviously did not seem right to him.

John would claim that Evie had simply walked away but that she had called and told him that she was with a woman that she had met earlier.  Then he showed the two a letter supposedly written by Evie that stated she went to Guatemala to visit her sister who was in a car accident.  The cousin knew that was not true and did not even believe the handwriting was Evie's.  John had also shown them the inside of his Jeep.  In the back there was a spot of blood.  When asked John would claim that Evie had cut her finger while retrieving a flashlight.  It appears that Juan almost immediately went to the police and reported his mother missing and what he knew.

John was arrested later that day.  When he was arrested they found identification on him with the name Joseph Nunez Jr. I have to be honest here and say that I am unsure exactly on what they arrested him for because we all know suspicion is not a legitimate charge but the arrest did give them access to his Jeep where they found more evidence of blood as well as found evidence that bleach had been used to attempt to clean even more up.  There were also an abundance of cleaning tools, including tarps in his Jeep.  By late July, John had gotten out of jail but as the police were attempting to build a case against him he was followed.  He was arrested again on August 10, 2006.  This time he was in possession of a wig, a false mustache, another false ID, traveler's checks and a bus ticket to El Paso Texas.  This time he was apparently held and charged with the murder of his wife.

Investigators would learn that apparently about a month before the anniversary trip John had told a friend that Evie was going to leave him and take half of his life savings. He told the friend he was so mad he could kill her and he knew plenty of places to hide the body.  Juan had also found a gun inside the home after his mother disappeared.  It was taken, along with things inside the Jeep and sent to be tested. Obviously investigators had made their way to Las Vegas and looked into things there too.

They had found cards inside John's Jeep for both the Circus Circus and the Tuscany Hotels so their work started there.  They learned that John had signed into Circus Circus, getting a room under his own name. He had then gone to the Tuscany, a hotel he had booked weeks earlier and had requested room N120. However when he got there that room was not available so he checked into room N114 under the name of Joe Nunez Jr.  He then rented room N118 for a Sal Nunez.  This was all done on July 10th, before Evie arrived the following day. On the 13th, the day after calling his son and saying his wife was missing, John went to several stores including a local Walmart.  He bought antifreeze, bleach, incense and an incense holder.  He then made his way into a hardware store where he bought a band saw and tools to use it.  

On July 14th John was able to get room N120 as he had originally requested and declined or refused all maid service.  On the following day John Watson checked out of both the Tuscany and Circus Circus and headed back to California.  

The rooms in which John had rented at the hotels were searched.  It seems that room N120 had most of the evidence they were looking for.  Blood DNA matching Evie was found not just in the bathroom of the room but also in the shower and the drain.  There was even a spot of carpet that was stained with blood that would be matched to Evie.  It had been so much blood that it had soaked through the carpet, through the padding and onto the concrete floor underneath.  In the meantime results came back from the gun, and things inside the Jeep.  It all too matched DNA to Evie.

What investigators did not have was a body. But, now days that does not prevent someone being charged.  However, it is only on the rare occasion that prosecutors will seek the death penalty in a case in which there is no body.  

While he was in jail two interesting things occurred in his correspondence with others. John had apparently written letters from jail that admitted to cooking his wife's body and eating parts of her body.  He also told his son Michael at some point that if he put money in his "jail fund" he would tell him where Evie's body was.  Of course all of these statements were used against him when he went to trial in 2010.

John had spent four years in prison by the time he went to court to face the charges of murder.  He had converted to the Islam faith and after the jury found him guilty he had advocated for the death penalty for himself.  The jury was happy to accommodate him.  Prosecutors would say that the Islam faith is what convinced him to ask for the death penalty for himself as that is what is required.  However, I found it interesting that he then later filed an appeal against his sentence.  In 2014 his sentence was upheld.  

Jurors from his trial say they were not completely convinced with some of the evidence until they heard about the DNA in shower in a room in which Evie was not even supposed to be in.  After the verdict the Watson's three grown sons thanked the jury.  For me this was telling.  This indicated that not only did they know their father had killed their mother, but that things were likely not all that great leading up to the murder.

One of the things that I found quite interesting was John's criminal background. It does not appear that he was ever convicted of any crimes in the past but he was arrested twice, for very significant crimes.  The first was in 1967 when he was arrested in Oklahoma.  He apparently confessed to the rape and murder of a hitchhiker.  By the sound of things he just went and confessed to this crime. No charges were ever file because no body was ever found or apparently any evidence at all.  Of course in 1967 investigators would have never considered filing charges without a body, but my research indicated they found no evidence of this even being true.  Then in the early 1970's he was arrested by Secret Service Agents for making threats to Richard Nixon.  My research did not indicate what those threats were or how they were conveyed. But, once again he was not prosecuted.  

By the time he had murdered his wife in 2006, John had retired from California as a teacher.  He had apparently saved nearly a million dollars and it was this money that prosecutors believed he killed for.  He was convinced Evie was leaving him and she would get half of that money.  Now, it is unclear if there was actually any evidence that she was actually going to leave him and in the realm of things legally it does not matter, as it only matters what John thought she was going to do.  But, I find this money and this idea interesting.  The fact that he was a school teacher, who was married (there was no indication that Evie worked), raised a family and was still able to save so much money, and was then willing to kill for it, indicates to me that he was an overly frugal man.  We have seen this type before.  They are so obsessed with saving money that they watch what everyone in the house does and spends and wastes.  These type of men are often described as tyrants.  To be fair nothing in my research discussed this at length or even anything from the sons discussing their upbringing, but this is the impression I get from studying other cases.

In the end he got what he initially asked for, although apparently did not continue to want, the death penalty.  He currently sits on Nevada's death row.


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