(UPDATE: Coral Watts is going on trial. See this post).
Coral Eugene Watts is one of the luckiest serial killers who ever butchered an innocent woman. He went on a murder binge between 1974 and 1982, attacking and killing at least 13 women – probably dozens more; he suggests 80 to 100, and it is a frighteningly credible claim. His killings took place in various cities from Houston to Detroit to Kalamazoo to Ann Arbor to Windsor and points between. His Texas rampage alone resulted in the deaths of a dozen women in less than a year. It was only his own sloppiness that eventually led him to a life term in a Michigan prison.
He attacked his victims on the street or in their homes in a sudden frenzy, often by stabbing them, sometimes by drowning or choking his victims to death. His “signature” was the rapidity and savagery of the attacks. Some women who survived his assaults reported that he laughed while he tried to butcher them.
So why haven’t you heard of him? He is easily in the running as one of the most prolific serial killers ever produced in the United States, and he cut a wide, international swath. And yet if you search on Google for “Coral Eugene Watts” (in quotes), you’ll find a paltry 812 pages mentioning him. In Internet terms, that’s next to nothing. Other serial killers with comparable “body counts” are much more infamous. “John Wayne Gacy” gets 358,000 internet mentions. “Jeffrey Dahmer” gets 418,000. "Ted Bundy," 670,000. Even an obscure killer of seven prostitutes like “Dayton Leroy Rogers” has 6,650 mentions.
Is the only difference the fact that Coral Eugene Watts did not rape his victims?
There was no overt sexual component to his killings – that was all in his head. Does that explain why Watts is unknown, while sex killers become household names? What else would explain it? And if that's the case, what does that say about our crime media? What does that say about us? Frankly, I don’t like the answer.
Indeed, I could not even find one single website that accurately listed all of his known victims and the dates on which he killed them.
Watts, born in Texas but raised in Inkster, a working-class black suburb of Detroit, started attacking women when he was only 15 years old and was “treated” with outpatient therapy. He attended college in Kalamazoo (Western Michigan University), and his attendance coincided with a wave of attacks on women there. Over the years, he escalated in savagery and frequency of attacks.
This post ends with a partial list of some of the cases connected to Watts. Bold cases are those that he confessed to. This list may contain errors, as there is very little information on the internet documenting his crimes. Watts has never granted an interview. He says he killed dozens of women, but he won’t confess without a deal. And it seems there aren’t many people who care.
June 24, 1969 – Joan Gave was beaten by her teenage paper boy – Coral Watts.
Oct. 25, 1974, Kalamazoo - Lenore Knizacky, 23, was strangled and nearly killed in her apartment.
Oct. 30, 1974, Kalamazoo – Gloria Steele was stabbed to death 33 times. Watts never confessed to this murder. A trial was planned but put on hold.
Nov. 12, 1974, Kalamazoo –Diane Williams was attacked but lived.
October 8, 1979, Detroit -- Peggy Pochmara, 22, was strangled to death.
Oct. 31, 1979, suburban Detroit -- Jeanne Clyne, 44, a reporter for the Detroit News, was stabbed 11 times in the chest and killed as she walked in her neighborhood in Grosse Pointe Farms.
December 1979, suburban Detroit – Helen Mae Dutcher was stabbed 12 times and died in Ferndale. Watts was convicted partly with a confession, though he now denies the crime.
January to May 1980 – Watts went through a divorce.
March 11, 1980, Detroit - Hazel Connof, 23, was strangled to death.
March 31, 1980, Detroit -- Denise Dunmore, 23, was strangled to death.
April 20, 1980, Ann Arbor – Shirley Small, 17, was stabbed twice and died.
May 31, 1980: Linda Monteiro, 27, strangled, Detroit.
July 1980, Ann Arbor – Glenda Richmond was stabbed 28 times and died.
July 1980, Windsor - Irene Kondratowiz, 22, was attacked, but lived after having her throat slashed. Sandra Dalpe, 20, lived through being stabbed from behind. Mary Angus, 30, of Windsor, escaped attack by screaming when she realized she was being followed.
Sept. 14, 1980, Ann Arbor – Rebecca Huff, 20, was stabbed about 50 times and died.
Nov. 15, 1980, Ann Arbor – Police caught Watts stalking a woman on the streets.
Jan. 17, 1981, Toledo - Connie Sue Thompson, 18, was found stabbed and strangled. Watts was suspected by police at one time.
Spring, 1981 – Watts moved to Texas.
September 5, 1981, Houston – Linda Tilley, 22, was drowned in her apartment complex swimming pool.
September 12, 1981, Houston – Elizabeth Montgomery was stabbed to death. The same day, Susan Wolf, 21, was stabbed to death.
January 4, 1982, Phyllis Tamm, 27, was choked to death and her body hung from a tree at Rice University.
January 17, 1982, Houston – Julie Sanchez was stabbed several times but lived.
January 17, 1982 - Margaret Fossi, 25, was also killed at Rice.
Jan. 29, 1982 – Alice Martell was murdered.
Jan. 30, 1982 – Patty Johnson (survived?)
Feb. 7, 1982, Houston – Elena Semander, 20, was strangled.
March 20, 1982 – Emily LaQua, 14, was strangled to death.
March 27, 1982 - Anna (Edith?) Ledet, 34, was murdered. Glenday Kirby (survived?)
March 31, 1982 – Mary Castillo was strangled to death.
April 3, 1982 - Christine McDonald was strangled to death.
April 5, 1982 - Suzanne Searles, 25 ?
April 15, 1982 – Corrie (Carrie?) Jefferson, 32 ?
April 16, 1982 – Yolanda DeGracia (Gracia?), 21 ?
May 1, 1982 – Sheri Straz ?
May 1982 – Gloria Cavellis ?
May 23, 1982, Houston – Michele Maday was strangled and drowned in her bathtub. The same day, he attacked roommates Lori Lister and Melinda Aguilar, but they escaped him. His bungled attempt to murder these two women led to his eventual seizure.
About.com on C.E. Watts http://crime.about.com/od/serial/p/watts2.htm
Murder Victims http://www.MurderVictims.Com/
Serial Killer Central http://www.skcentral.com/news.php?readmore=582
Houston Chronicle, Via Justice for All http://www.jfa.net/pub/page6.html
Predator Profiles http://www.extremeselfprotection.com/predator_profiles.htm