Teen charged in murder of stepfatherPublished 12:06am Tuesday, July 17, 2012
VIDALIA — A Vidalia teenager charged with shooting and killing his stepfather was transported to a youth detention center outside of Baton Rouge Monday after he was arrested for a second-degree murder charge late Sunday night.
The 14-year-old turned himself into the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office at approximately 11 p.m. after eluding police for several hours, Chief Deputy David Hedrick said.
The teen has not been charged as an adult, so his name is not being released.
Terry Watson, 37, was shot once in the abdomen and once in the shoulder by the teenager with what police believe was a .380 pistol, which still has not been found.
Watson was transported to Natchez Regional Medical Center by Metro Ambulance, but was immediately airlifted in critical condition to Jackson for treatment. Watson died at the Jackson hospital late Sunday at approximately 11 p.m.
An autopsy will be conducted today in Jackson, Hedrick said.
Authorities first arrived on the scene at 3:10 p.m. after Watson’s 13-year-old son called 911 after witnessing the shooting from inside his house.
“The shooting occurred outside in front of the house,” Hedrick said. “The witness was inside looking out through a window.”
Watson’s wife, Misty Watson, pulled up to the East Road house moments later.
The residential neighborhood, located off National Guard Road, has about a dozen houses on a bumpy paved road, including Watson’s father’s house where the shooting occurred.
The family had recently been spending more time at Watson’s father’s house then at their house, which is down the road, after his father became ill.
The Watson’s house is not closely located to others in the neighborhood, and neighbor Charles Moncrief said he didn’t hear any gunshots Sunday.
“The first time I heard anything was when they starting knocking on my door asking to search my house and my sheds to see if the boy was hiding here,” Charles Moncrief said. “I’ve known Terry (Watson) for a while, and he’s a good guy.
“It kind of shocked everyone in the neighborhood.”
The teenager fled the scene allegedly wearing pajama pants, and Hedrick said deputies have not confirmed where he was during the eight-hour time period he was missing.
“We don’t have any other witnesses at this time, but it’s possible that someone could approach us in the next few days with new information,” Hedrick said.
Investigators obtained a warrant before Watson’s death for the teen’s arrest on charges of second-degree attempted murder.
After Watson’s death, the teenager was booked in on a charge of second-degree murder.
The teenager appeared before 7th Judicial District Judge Kathy Johnson Monday afternoon for a continued custody hearing, which determines probable cause to justify taking a juvenile into custody and whether there is a need to continue holding the juvenile.
In Louisiana, an individual is legally an adult at 17, for the purpose of criminal court jurisdiction.
A 14-year-old juvenile can be transferred to adult criminal court at the discretion of the judge or the district attorney through judicial transfer.
In juvenile court proceedings, a youth is not convicted, but rather adjudicated.
When a juvenile has an adjudication hearing, the judge will hear testimony from witnesses and render a decision to determine if he will be adjudicated as a delinquent or placed under the families in needs of services program.
The teenager was transported to St. James Parish Youth Detention Center Monday evening and will remain there until further court proceedings, Hedrick said.
“Right now we’re just following every lead to ensure a full investigation is complete,” Hedrick said.
Initial investigations didn’t show a past history of violence or disputes between Watson and his stepson, but Hedrick said complaints regarding the teenager had been reported in the past.
Moncrief said Watson had lived in the neighborhood for more than 10 years and that he had never seen any violent exchange between the man and his stepson.
“I’m sure he regrets what he’s done, and right now we all need to send their family a lot of prayers,” Moncrief said. “We need to help bring the Watson family up during these tough times.”