Jury selected, opening statements to begin Wednesday in Watson murder trial

Jury selected, opening statements to begin Wednesday in Watson murder trial

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - After seven long weeks and a hung jury, a high profile murder case is getting back underway in Tucson.

David Watson, a former fire captain, is accused of killing his ex-wife, mother-in-law and a neighbor more than a decade ago.

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, the jury was selected and opening statements are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. in front of Judge Deborah Bernini.

Watson is facing two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder.

Tucson News Now spoke with Jeffrey Jacobson, a former federal prosecutor, about what needs to happen differently this time.

Jacobson has provided national commentary for other high profile cases like the Jodi Arias murder trial.

Jacobson said this retrial is only going to get better for the prosecution because Watson's defense team has lost the element of surprise.

The state now has an idea of what the defense wants to do with the case, so it makes it easier for the prosecution to fill in the pieces missing the first time.

Jacobson said this case had a lot of "bad facts."

One of those, was Watson's ex-mother-in-law pointing the figure at Watson, should anything happen to her.

"You've got Ms. Cox, literally saying from the dead 'If I should disappear, it wasn't of my own doing,'" he said.

But something else that made the first trial difficult, was hard evidence.

Jurors said there just wasn't enough to prove Watson was guilty.

Pieces like DNA were missing from different pieces of evidence.

This time around, both sides will have a chance to argue even harder.

But finding a jury presented its own challenge.

"It's going to be a real challenge to find people who aren't aware of the case, or who would be willing to look into the judge's eyes, look into the party's eyes, look into the lawyer's eyes and say, 'I can be unbiased even though I'm aware of some of the facts that have already been reported in the media,'" Jacobson said.

The worse case scenario for Watson is life in prison.

The best case scenario will depend on the state offering up a plea deal, or lesser charges that could include manslaughter.

"You have two very experienced trial teams, you have an outstanding judge that's very experienced. It's all going to come down to how the evidence comes out. I would say at this point, advantage prosecution because this is a retrial," Jacobson said.

The trail is expected to last for several weeks with more than 60 witnesses testifying.

Opening statements begin Wednesday and the first witness will be Rosemary Watson, David Watson's second wife.

TIMELINE

• August 2000: Linda Watson disappears.

• 2003: Body found in the desert near Silverbell Mine area, but authorities are not able to identify.

• May 2003: Marilyn Cox and Renee Farnsworth shot and killed on the northwest side of Tucson.

• 2011: Body found in the desert identified as Linda Watson.

• 2015: David Watson arrest on murder charges.

• October 2016: David Watson's murder trial begins.

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