Blair Watts defrauded his organization companion Jennifer Brown for months, prosecutors in Montgomery County mentioned Thursday. And as his desperation mounted amid his crumbling restaurant plans, they mentioned, he killed her and dumped her physique in a shallow grave.
Watts, 33, faces initial- and third-degree murder, theft, and associated charges in the death of Brown. He was held more than for trial on all charges immediately after a marathon preliminary hearing prior to Magisterial District Judge Richard Welsh.
The Royersford native’s lawyer, Christopher Mandracchia, vehemently contended at the hearing that the prosecution had assembled a “rubber shell of a case” that lacked proof.
“This is all circumstantial at greatest, and there is not adequate to pass this level for a initial-degree, intentional killing,” Mandracchia mentioned.
Very first Assistant District Lawyer Ed McCann disputed that characterization, saying the proof, though circumstantial, was “significant and effective.”
Watts acknowledged that he was the final individual to see Brown, 43, alive in January, McCann mentioned. He then reported her missing and concocted a story about her final couple of hours that the prosecutor mentioned was patently false.
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Brown, Watts mentioned, told him she “needed a break” from youngster care, and gave him permission to take her eight-year-old son, Noah, to his household for a sleepover with his youngsters. However, the sleepover took spot on a college evening, and Noah did not have his required medication, major prosecutors to think the arrangement was uncommon and unplanned.
Inside Brown’s apartment, detectives investigating her disappearance found that she had left behind her perform cell telephone, automobile keys, and wallet. Plastic shards from her hair clip had been located embedded in the home’s carpet.
Brown and Watts had identified each and every other for a though, and had hammered out a contract partnering in a restaurant Watts had hoped to open in Phoenixville, prosecutors mentioned. Monetary records showed that more than the course of a couple of months, Brown had agreed to spend Watts $14,000 to be a partial investor in the eatery, Birdie’s Kitchen. She fulfilled that obligation, prosecutors mentioned, properly prior to January.
Jennifer Brown was reported missing in January. Her physique was located two weeks later.. … Read moreMontgomery County District Attorney’s Workplace
Nonetheless, banking records revealed that added transfers for $17,000 had been created to Watts from Brown’s account immediately after he mentioned he had final observed her. These transfers came immediately after other, failed transfers from Brown’s accounts, McCann mentioned, and the thriving transfers only went by means of immediately after two-element authentication had been abruptly deactivated on Brown’s Cashapp account.
The whole time, he mentioned, cell telephone records showed that Watts had Brown’s individual cell telephone. It was under no circumstances recovered by investigators.
Other cell telephone records placed Watts outdoors a warehouse in Royersford for an extended period the day immediately after he reported her missing.
Two weeks later, a passerby found Brown’s physique in a hastily dug grave at that warehouse, prosecutors mentioned. Underneath her corpse was the remainder of the shattered hair clip that had been located in her household.
An autopsy revealed that Brown had been killed by asphyxia, and her ribs had been broken. A forensic pathologist ruled her death a homicide, probably by choking.
Detectives researching Watts’ organization activity located that he had grossly exaggerated the status of his restaurant venture, McCann mentioned. He had repeatedly told detectives that he was weeks away from opening Birdie’s Kitchen.
However, the owners of the creating exactly where Watts hoped to open the eatery told detectives they had ended their organization partnership with him in late December. However Watts showed up at the creating hours immediately after he claimed to have observed Brown final and told the owners he had far more cash to invest, and begged them to reconsider, McCann mentioned.
When detectives visited the place weeks later, they located it in disarray: It was in no situation to be opened, McCann mentioned.
Mandracchia attempted to cast doubt on McCann’s theory of the case and recommended that a neighbor of Brown’s was a far more probably suspect: The man had admitted to possessing an affair with Brown.
Welsh, the judge, was not swayed and held Watts for trial on all charges.
As Watts was led out of the courthouse, he told reporters he was innocent, and mentioned he missed his youngsters.
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