A California inmate already doing life for murder wrote a letter to The San Jose Mercury News in which he purportedly confessed to killing two child molesters while behind bars, saying that he warned his jailers that he was about to attack another inmate.
Jonathan Watson, who was sentenced to life in prison for a 2009 murder, is accused of the murders of David Bobb, 48, and Graham De Luis-Conti, 62, on January 16. Specifically, Watson is accused of beating both men to death with another prisoner’s cane.
About a week before the two men were murdered, Watson’s security risk was downgraded from a Level III to a Level II, even though he says that he “left a paper trail” of grievances with prison officials warning that he was not fit for a less-restrictive environment.
Nevertheless, he was transferred from confinement in a single-bed cell, normally reserved for violent offenders, and into a dormitory-style method of housing. He warned his jailers that the move was a “careless mistake.”
Soon, Watson wrote, a man Watson didn’t identify by name but instead described as “Child Molester #1,” moved into Watson’s unit. Watson said in his letter that the man would watch PBS Kids in front of the other inmates, which Watson took as taunting.
In his letter, Watson wrote that he packed up his belongings because he knew that, one way or the other, “the situation would be resolved the following day.”
The next day, Watson says, he told a guard that if he wasn’t transferred back to a more-restrictive environment soon, he was going to “(expletive) one of these dudes up.” The guard was reportedly dismissive of Watson’s claim.
Hours later, Bobb and De Luis-Conti were dead. He first attacked one man, and, surprised that the guards hadn’t taken notice, attacked the other. And indeed, it was Watson himself that led guards to both men’s bloodied bodies.
Bobb died later that day, and De Luis-Conti died three days later at a local hospital.
Meanwhile, Watson has still not been officially charged with either of these murders.
Joshua Mason, an ex-con who has since become a gang expert and legal consultant, says that prison officials should have taken Watson’s warnings seriously.
“This guy should have never been housed with those people and that’s common laymen knowledge. He told them, ‘I can’t be housed here,’ and that’s admirable. That’s a deviation from normal prison general population behavior … The culture is, if you’re uncomfortable, do something about it. The fact that he did seek out the administration shows he was just trying to do his time,’ Mason says.
Meanwhile, Watson was clear in his letter that, if he’s housed around child molesters again, he’ll kill another one if given the chance.
“Being a lifer… I sometimes have access to these people and I have so little to lose,” Watson said.