Convicted Serial Killer Dies In Custody

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Confessed serial killer Coral Eugene Watts, who had admitted to a dozen killings in Texas and Michigan, died Friday of apparent prostate cancer, a Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman said. He was 53.
Watts died at 11:10 a.m. in a secure area of Foote Hospital, Russ Marlan said.
Last week, Watts was sentenced to a second life prison sentence in the slaying of a Western Michigan University student more than three decades ago.
In July, a jury convicted Watts of first-degree murder in the 1974 stabbing death of 19-year-old Gloria Steele. He was convicted of the same charge in December 2004 for the 1979 killing of Helen Dutcher, 36, in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale.
Watts, a native of Inkster, which also is near Detroit, denied having anything to do with Steele's death. The college student was stabbed more than 30 times in the apartment that she shared with her daughter, who was then 3 years old.
Watts received immunity for 12 other killings to which he had he confessed -- 11 in Texas and one in Michigan that did not involved Steele or Dutcher -- as part of a 1982 deal with Texas prosecutors.
He was given a 60-year sentence for burglary with intent to murder, but mandatory release laws and an appeals court ruling reduced his sentence by more than 35 years.
Michigan authorities revived the Dutcher and Steele cases in an effort to keep Watts behind bars because he was to have been released from a Huntsville, Texas, prison in May 2006.
The Michigan attorney general's office has said Watts is a suspect in 26 other slayings and may have killed more than 80 women.


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