Years of questions mount for Pima County cold case murder suspect

Years of questions mount for Pima County cold case murder suspect
Linda Watson
Linda Watson
David Watson booking photo (Pima County Sheriff's Dept.)
David Watson booking photo (Pima County Sheriff's Dept.)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Hundreds of pages of interviews, evidence logs and investigator narratives outline the details of the roughly 15 years' worth of detective work it took to arrest the authorities' primary suspect in three cold case murders.

David Watson was arrested at his home without incident on April 25 and charged for the murder of his ex-wife Linda Watson, her mother Marilyn Cox, and her mother's friend Renee Farnsworth. Watson declined an interview with detectives after his arrest, according to records from the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Other attempts to talk with Watson before his arrest were met with a similar response, according to interviews logged by detectives.

In March 2013, a detective dropped in at Tucson Fire Station No. 5, hoping to find Watson at his work. Watson, a captain with the department since 2007, would later resign after his arrest.

The detective said he was just stopping by because he was in the area, according to the PCSD paperwork. He told Watson they needed to talk because there was new information in the case. The last time Watson was interviewed by investigators, the case of Linda Watson was classified as a missing person. It became a homicide after her body was identified in 2011.

Watson told the detective that he has already said all that he knows about the case and he is tired of being harassed about it, according to the conversation transcript. The detective said he could understand Watson's position but his ex-wife and former mother-in-law have been murdered and he's right in the middle of it.

"There's no taking yourself out of that," said the detective. "I feel bad. However, I don't feel that bad. Because, my job is to protect the victims' families."

Watson said he's a victim too, but the detective told him he did not believe it.

He said the case would be moving to the Pima County Attorney's Office and the only thing missing was Watson's interview.

"There is information that we have, that's new, that is, to be quite honest, not so good for you," said the detective. "That's why I'm here."

Watson said he has the right to have an attorney present for the interview, but he still declined the opportunity to talk with detectives.

The night that Cox and Farnsworth were shot and killed in 2003, detectives visited Watson's home to check on his daughter. She was visiting with the two women earlier in the day, and detectives said they wanted to make sure she made it home safely, according to another interview transcript.

They asked Watson a few questions about his relationship with Cox, and he asked them about the new murder investigation.

"That (expletive) family is gonna think I did (expletive) again," Watson said in reference to Cox's loved ones. "And I'm sure you know that family thinks I had something to do with the disappearance of their daughter."

Three months before her murder, Cox wrote a letter to investigators telling them to suspect Watson if anything bad should happen to her. The note ends with: "I hope you keep this on file somewhere because Dave has now lost some major control and he's having a hard time with that."

Watson is currently held at the Pima County Detention Center on a $900,000 cash bond.
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