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Daughtry fatally shot man for improper crack cooking

Ricardo Castavious Daughtry didn’t like the way William Franklin Watson was cooking his powdered cocaine into crack, so he shot him five times and killed him.

That’s the story prosecutors outlined during a two-day trial at the Screven County Courthouse this week. Jurors deliberated less than 20 minutes late Tuesday before convicting Daughtry of all six of the charges that were brought against him, including one for murder.

Superior Court Judge John R. Turner sentenced Daughtry to a total of life in prison plus 20 years for all six charges.

The jury of seven women and five men found Daughtry guilty of murder, two counts of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during commission of a crime for events on June 19, 2007; and possession of cocaine and obstruction of an officer for events on Sept. 11, 2007.

Keith McIntyre, senior assistant district attorney, painted a picture of a crack cook gone bad, in a small, one-bedroom apartment at 309 Curtis Street, behind Rusty’s, that was filled with equipment to cook crack and about 300 crack pipes.

“He wasn’t satisfied with the results,” of Watson’s cooking, McIntyre said. “He got mad.” Watson was 54 when he died. Daughtry was 23 at the time of the shooting.

Jeremy “Wimpy” Williams testified that he was with Daughtry and Watson that night. Williams said he saw Daughtry get mad, start pushing Watson and reach for his waist. Williams said he feared Daughtry was reaching for a gun so he ran from the apartment.

Williams said he heard gunshots and saw Daughtry run from the apartment with a shirt covering his face. A neighbor testified she also saw a man matching Daughtry’s description running from the apartment, covering his face.

Williams said the next morning, Daughtry told him he shot Williams five times and that he collapsed into a bathtub. Williams said Daughtry also said he left the water running in the tub.

Those were details that turned out to be accurate and that only the killer would have known, McIntyre argued.

The prosecution also argued:

  • The last call answered on Watson’s phone was from Daughtry’s phone.
  • Daughtry’s fingerprints were found in Watson’s apartment.
  • When a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent called Daughtry’s phone to ask about the murder, Daughtry hung up. Two hours later, Daughtry was at Lowe’s in Statesboro, buying a black light to examine his body for evidence.
  • Daughtry and friends threw the .380-caliber, semi-automatic pistol into the Ogeechee River. Authorities recovered it and matched it to casings left at the crime scene.
  • The gun was Daughtry’s because a witness saw him use it at an attempted robbery a month earlier.
  • Daughtry asked Williams to kill witnesses in the case and tried to get Williams to recant his testimony as late as this month.

“The defendant shot Mr. Watson five times, upset about a crack cook,” McIntyre said. “He concealed evidence, lied, attempted to influence witnesses, did his best to obstruct justice in this case.”

Jack Williamson, chief assistant public defender for the Ogeechee Circuit, questioned the credibility of witnesses who use cocaine and suggested someone else could have committed the murder.

“Any number of people possibly could have actually caused his death,” he said. He said prosecutors failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

McIntyre said some of the witnesses lied at first to try to protect themselves, but when confronted with the evidence, eventually told the truth. “They lied. ‘I wasn’t there. I don’t know nuttin’ about nuttin,’” McIntyre said. That’s to be expected in a drug case, he said. “We have a saying that in a play cast in hell, you’re not going to have angels for witnesses.”