The Cross-State Lines Serial Murderer: Carl Watts

Carl Watts was undetected for 8 years. Once he went on police radar, they found out he murdered over 90 women. Here’s how he ended up in jail for the remainder of his days.
Carl “Coral” Eugene Watts

Carl Eugene Watts was born on November 7, 1953. Carl Watts nickname and what many people would end up calling him was Coral. Carl Watts was known as an African American serial killer who was also commonly referred to as “The Sunday Morning Slasher.”

Carl Watts would ultimately die in prison of prostate cancer. Carl received two life sentences without the possibility of parole in a Michigan facility for the murders of Gloria Steele and Helen Dutcher, even though the number of his victims are more than 80 at the current moment.

Watts would later explain that this all started when he was just 12-years old. He stated when he was around the age of 12. He started to really be fantasized about killing and torturing young women and young girls.

Then during his adolescent years is where when Watts started to stalk a few girls. It is to be believed this is when they may have murdered his first victim before he turned 15-years old.

Watts would be apprehended on June 29, 1969, for his role in sexually assaulting Joan Gave, 26.

When Watts was brought to trial, he was ultimately sentenced to spend time in the Lafayette Clinic, which is a mental hospital located in Detroit.

According to many psychiatric tests, it was found that Watts was suffering from a mild form of mental retardation with an IQ of 75 along with having a delusional thought process.

However, this testing would be done after a police officer that was interrogating him stated that Watts has an excellent memory and was extremely intelligent.

Watts would later be discharged from the Lafayette Clinic in November of 1969.

Personal Life

Coral Watts has one daughter with his ex-girlfriend, Deloris Howard. His daughter’s name is Nakisha Watts. Nakisha Watts growing up lived solely with her mother, Deloris.

However, in August of 1979, Coral Watts would marry Valeria Goodwill. The couple would later divorce in May of 1980.


What we know as a fact is that Watt’s starting his serial killing career in 1974 when he was just 20 years old. He first started by kidnapping his victims directly from their homes, then torturing them, and finally murdering them.

Then on October 30, 1974, Watts would torture and then murder Gloria Steele, who was 20 years old at the time of her death.

Gloria Steele was to be believed as Coral Watts second victim.

Watts was thought to have been involved with the Nadine Jean O’Dell disappearance. When Nadine Jean O’Dell disappeared, she was only 16 years of age. O’Dell was last seen on August 16, 1974. O’Dell would last be seen on John Daly Street nestled in the city of Inkster, Michigan. However, no one ever witnessed her abduction and her body has yet to be found to this very day.

Watts loved killing young white girls. His victims can age from 14 years old all the way up to 44 years old. Watts would use a variety of different methods to kill his victims including the following:

  • Drowning
  • Strangulation
  • Bludgeoning
  • Stabbing

Watts would be responsible for many murders that took place between 1974 to 1982. Despite the number of women, he murdered, Watts was not arrested or even on the radar of police for nearly 8 years.

There were a few reasons why he was not on the police radar. Watts would be hitting up a few different jurisdictions and even different states for that matter.

Without the proper DNA testing, it would have been near impossible to connect the dots that all these crimes were linked back to one suspect. Also, Coral Watts would rarely, if ever perform any sexual acts with his victims. Most of his crimes were not sexually motivated.

When Watts was questioned back in 1975, there was little to no evidence that prosecutors could use to properly convict him of the crime, even though he would end up spending a year in prison for the attack on the woman who survived the ordeal.

Even Canadian authorities started to believe that Coral Watts may have crossed over the border into Windsor during October and assaulted Sandra Dalpe, 20 just outside of her apartment leaving her for death with many wounds to her throat and face.

But, by that time he was on Sandra Dalpe investigators were on to him for a few crimes.

It was not until July of 1980 when a task force as officially organized. The task force was going to probe for Sunday slashings and Watts would be placed under surveillance.  Then a few months later in November, the court finally ordered officers to plant a tracking device on his vehicle.

Discovery & Arrest

It was not until May 23, 1982, when Watts would break into Melinda Augilar and Lori Lister’s apartment in Houston, Texas.

When they would arrive home from work, she would find Lister under the stair’s unconscious in their apartment.

This is when Coral Watts would enter the apartment again and choke out Aguilar as well leaving her to die alongside Lister.

Watts would then drag LIster’s lifeless body up the stairs into the bathroom. He would start filling up the bathtub with water and preparing to drown here in there.

Since Watts was concentrating on Lister, Augilar was able to slip out of the apartment window and runt of a neighbor’s house to get help.

Lister was also rescued, and Watts would flee the scene, but later be arrested.

While Watts was in custody the police started linking Watts so a few of the more recent murders of a variety of women in town.

Watts lived in the state of Michigan until the early 1981. This is where local authorities think he was responsible for a few murders of young women and girls. The local authorities believe he was responsible for at least 10 murders within the state of Michigan.

Watts would be questioned about some of the murders in 1975, but there was never enough evidence for the prosecutors to officially charge him. During this time, he would spend a year in a state prison for attacking a woman who survived the ordeal though.

Then Prosecutors in the state of Texas felt like they did not have any of the vital pieces of evidence to truly convict Watts for the murders, so Watts would receive a plea bargain in 1982.

However, the plea bargain would consist of if Watts sat down with investigators and gave them confessions along with the full details of the crimes, they would give him immunity for all murder charges, and he would only truly receive a burglary charge with intent to kill.

You should keep in mind that this charge can have a 60-year prison sentence. While he agreed to this deal, he would immediately confess in detail about the 12 murders he committed in the great state of Texas.

However, the state of Michigan refused to give Coral Watts such a deal, so the cases in the state of Michigan would remain open.

Later down the line, Watts would claim that he was responsible for killing over 40 women, but that there were more like 80 victims in total. However, he would not confess to all these murders though because he did not want to be known or even seen as a mass murderer. However, authorities believe Watts is responsible for closer to 90 murders.

Watts Michigan Trial

Watts would be sentenced to the agreed-upon 60 years. However, shortly after he started serving out his time, the Texas Court of Appeals stated that they were not informed by Watts about the water and bathtub incident in his attempted to drown and kill Lori Lister and this was considered a use of a deadly weapon.

So, his ruling would be reclassified as a nonviolent felon, which in the long run would make him eligible for early release.

During this time the Texas law would allow all nonviolent felons to have three days subtracted from their sentences for every day they served if they were in good behavior within the facility.

However, Watts would demonstrate that he was a modeled prisoner, and before you knew it, he had enough time subtracted from his sentence that he was a free man on May 9, 2006.

You should not that the law in Texas has since changed thanks to a public outcry, but it was not retroactively applied to the Texas Constitution.

Then in 2004, Mike Cox, Michigan Attorney General asked on national television for anyone to come forward with any information on any of the murders that Watts was involved in to keep him from getting out of the state prison.

Well, Joseph Foy a resident of Westland, Michigan would soon come forward stating had noticed a man that fit Watts’ description be the one who murdered Helen Dutcher, 25 who was brutally stabbed and died on December 1, 1979.

Foy stated that he could easily identify Watts solely on his eye. Foy would go on to describe Watts eyes as evil and had no emotion.

Even though Watts had immunity over the 12 killings he committed int the great state of Texas, Watts did not have immunity in Michigan.

Before Watts trial in Michigan in 2004, the local law enforcement officials asked the trial judge if it would be okay to allow his Texas murder confessions to be brought to as evidence for this trial, the judge allowed it.

Watts would then quickly be charged with the murder of Helen Dutcher, 25. On November 17, 2004, a jury in Michigan would find Coral Watts guilty of murdering Helen Dutcher based on the eyewitness testimony of Mr. Foy.

Then on December 7, 2004, Watts would receive a life in prison sentence. Just two days after his sentencing, the state of Michigan would start the motions for the murder of Gloria Steele, a Western Michigan University student who was killed in 1974.

The trial for Gloria Steele’s murder would start on July 25, 2007 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The closing arguments for the trial could be heard on July 26, 2007. The very next day the jury would come back and find Coral Watts guilty in the case of Gloria Steele.

Coral Watts would then receive yet another life in prison sentence on September 13, 2007.

Coral Watts would ultimately die in a hospital in Jackson Michigan from prostate cancer on September 21, 2007.