John Watson: Not Guilty - 103 Year Life Sentence
John Watson: Not Guilty - 103 Year Life Sentence
Why this petition matters
The story below is a life moment for John K.D. Watson that started with rightfully working with with the Richmond City Police Department for a crime that he did not commit, a wrongfully convicted charge on the words of a guilty family member and a forced guilty plea to avoid the death penalty.
The words below are paraphrased words from the mouth of John K.D. Watson.
Please hear his story.
April 1 2002, the night of the incident, I was visiting my girlfriend’s, Shamika, father’s home in Louisa County for a family dinner. We were also accompanied by her son, Dayquan, and her grandmother. Shamika, my cousin Taurus Robinson and I stayed in eating deer meat and smoking marijuana. My girlfriend’s cousin came down with a headache and wanted to head back to Richmond around midnight. We arrived to Richmond around 1:15am. First, we dropped off Shamika’s grandmother in Church Hill. We also took Taurus to his girlfriend’s house in Southside. Shamika and I lived in Henrico in Miller’s Glen apartments off Laburnum. So, we didn’t arrive home until well after 2am. I did the driving while she slept. So, when we arrived home, I went right to sleep. Shamika was awake talking on the phone with her friends when I went to sleep.
The next morning, I received calls from family members and friends informing me that I was on the news, in question, for two murders. I called my mother and she said that there were two detectives had come to my grandmother’s home, looking for me and they had left their information. So, I received their numbers and called them directly. They informed me that they only wanted to talk to gather all of the information that they could. I provided them with my location to clear my name.
When they arrived at Shamika’s and I apartment, I relayed the information of my night, my alibi, and everyone that could call to confirm. They insisted that I come down to the police station for further conversation. I told them that I had nothing else to provide, but they continued to insist on my presence. They said I may know more because they had been told something different. They also implied that I may have violated my probation so they wanted to contain me until they were sure. I wasn’t under arrest but they insisted that I ride with them for my own safety. I complied.
Once in the police station, I was placed in the interrogation room. They implied that I knew more about the crimes, but not directly. They implemented that my cousin, Tamika, was involved in some way. I did not confirm. I didn’t admit to anything. Only thing I said was that I knew the victim, Cory (skooch) Miles as a neighborhood friend. The interrogation went on for a few hours. Then, I was read my rights and charged with robbery.
I was arraigned on the robbery charges and, afterwards, arraigned on two capital murders and two charges on the use of a firearm. The robbery charge was a non-process. At my preliminary hearing, I was appointed a court-appointed lawyer, Cary Bowen with co-counsel Matthew Gary. I pleaded not-guilty. This is when I found out my cousin, Tamika Robinson, was being charged with the same crime and requesting a separate trial. My lawyers insured me that was normal in a double homicide and did not object. I did not know at the time but my co-defendant was having problems with her lawyer. During the process of preparing for a trial, a jury selection and preparing for a defense, I received information that my codefendant was being threaten. By who? I did not know.
I, myself, was also being threaten, while in custody by an unknown party in the Richmond City jail. This led me to be placed in a P.C unit by the administration. I requested to be removed from a P.C unit and was placed in regular population after I signed a form stating that I didn’t fear for my life. Furthermore, it was believed the threats my codefendant received was one of the reasons she gave false statements. She received threats to her life, to our grandmother’s life after a failed B&E attempt at our grandmother’s home while the codefendant was there.
The prosecution offered her 20 years for her involvement in the crimes instead of life in prison. Tamika Robinson complied and provided a false statement to the prosecution.
In my case, there wasn’t any evidence that placed me at the scene of the crime. The prosecution did not have enough evidence to move forward for a conviction, only circumstantial evidence. The prosecution continuously requested the courts for more time and being that the case was high profile, the judge allowed them the extra time. Until, my speedy trail rights were about to be violated within six days, the prosecution requested a $2.5M bond. Judge Thomas Nance brought to the prosecutor’s attention that just because a bond was placed didn’t mean that I had to post it. So, the judge released me on my own recognizance to avoid the violation of my speedy trail rights. My lawyers did not object to the blatant favoritism.
So, I was released on my own recognizance with two capital murder charges, which is unheard of in my city. My codefendant was not given a bond and remained in the Richmond City jail awaiting trial.
While out on bond, I received more information regarding my case. My grandmother’s next door neighbor, Mrs. Betty Bridges, and her granddaughter, Erica Bridges, was told by Marcheri Blakes, a witness in my case, that she was only sure about hearing the voice of Tamika Robinson the night of the crime. She was not sure about seeing me, John Watson, and that there was someone else there that she did not know at all. While awaiting trial, I went to visit my brother, Eric Watson, in Keysville, VA to give my mother a peace of mind for my safety. I would return to Richmond, VA to attend my trial.
On my trial day, I was told by my lawyer that my codefendant was prepared to take the stand and testify against me on behalf of the prosecution. This was a surprise to me and my lawyers did not inform me until that very moment. Unprepared, my lawyers asked for a continuance to go over the statements that my codefendant was going to make under oath. As a result, my bond was revoked and I was remanded. I was then contained to the Richmond city jail.
During a lawyer visit, I was told that the prosecution would seek the death penalty if I didn’t abandon my non-guilty plea.