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Great post, Laura. I've often wondered why most people don't know about Watts. I thought it was because he is black, but the lack of a sexual assault could also be the reason. Not salacious enough for the general public??

Jeri Westerson

Well done, Laura. You've put those other web sites to shame.

craig henry

Great post. Unfortunately, i think you may have hit on part of the problem. Soobs's point is also a good one. Sort of like the difference between Mark Essex and Charles Whitman.

A couple of other possibilities: Dahmer and Gacy hit the headlines because of the carnage the police found in their residence. The arrest of Bundy and BTK solved a series of crimes that were already big news. Was there a big manhunt/ investigation in Michigan or Texas before Watts was captured?


I didn't know about Watts till I read this. Really good job there, and disturbing.

Allison Brennan

Laura, I think you hit on something here. I actually have read about Coral Watts in a book called THE SERIAL KILLER FILES by Harold Schechter. I looked up the entry on him and it was interesting that he was able to strike a plea deal in 1982 and for the murder of 13 women (though as you mention it was likely much higher), he was given a 60-year sentence with the possibility of parole as early as this year. I believe the was tried last year for another crime in another state, and convicted, but I don't know the details on it. FILES came out in 2003. I just thought it was interesting that Watts could have been the first serial killer paroled.

BTW, if you type in "Coral Watts" you get more hits, but still not nearly a fraction of the "big name" serial killers.


I was attacked by Coral Watts in Ferndale, MI in 1979. There is a police report. I was attacked while getting into my car. He said he had a knife, he didn't. He ordered me to move over from the drivers seat, I couldn't because of a counsole. He beat my face with his left fist, I had a good hold on his right and I was biting. I ended up with a fractured cheek, concussion and broken nose.

I probably would be dead except he stopped hitting me and said: "I just want a ride to 12 Mile". At that point I knew he was really crazy and I swung my feet out, started screaming and kicking. A couple coming from 'Delta Lady' started running towards my car. He took off running to a side street, got in a car and took off.

I made a police report and was taken to the hospital. The police later told me they got him trying to attack two other women at a bus stop.

When I saw his name pop up recently, I called the Ferndale police and offered to testify. They told me they did not need my testimony, they had plenty of evidence. I hope they do.

sarah l

My ex-fiance once told me that he lived with Coral Watts in Texas. He said he was a nice guy, he just hated women. Needless to say that's why I said he's my ex-fiance.

Tom Hearndon

I have no doubt that the lack of sex is one reason why Watts is so unknown, but the fact that he was a black serial killer who targeted mostly white women is the over-riding reason. The police in both Michigan and Texas have noted the racial cast of this case and much of Watts' confession to cops contains many racial aspects, but the media picked up on the "evil eyes" statement and ran with it. The fact is, "evil in their eyes" was an inference that meant hatred of blacks to Watts.


I just finished reading about "The Michigan Murders" and wonder if Watts wasn't doing some of the killings in that period since he was in the area at the time?
They eventually convicted James [Anderson] Armstrong, for only one of the seven murders, that of Carol Ann Gebhardt, and only because they found her blood in his law-enforcement uncles house, that he was house-sitting at the time of her death.
However he is a strong suspect for the other six and yet he claims innocence and no "proof" was ever found that pointed to him in the others--now I wonder if it wasn't Watts doing the killings at the same time?

James [Anderson] Armstrong's Victims:

Marilyn Pindar-Ypsilanti, Mich. 7/10/1967
Jill Hersch-Ann Arbor, Mich. 07/1/1968
Jeanne Holder-Ypsilanti,Mich. 03/21/1969
Mary Grace Clemson-Ann Arbor, Mich. 03/24/1969

Unsolved: Four mutilated corpses-Benton Harbor, Mich. 02/1965 three were not sexually molested, only the sole child found [7 yrs old] was.

Unsolved: Four decimated bodies of young women unearthed from a shallow grave, they were so mutilated that the actual cause of how they died was never determined-Cape Cod, Mass. 02 & 03/1969

Dale Harum-Ypsilanti, Mich. 04/16/1969
Audrey Sakol-Ann Arbor, Mich. 06/09/1969
Carol Ann Gebhardt-Ypsilanti, Mich. 07/23/1969

Unsolved: Ginger Lee Neary-Salinas/Carmel, Cal. 06/30/1969

Just curious--has anyone ever checked on these murders to see if he possibly did commit them?

Of course it's too late now---but just curious if he left any writings behind too?

And although we may never know if he killed these girls, we do know he is reaping the "fruits" of his labors in the Gardens of Hell, for those he admitted to--and I for one am glad.


I'm not sure how it happened, but the comments I posted a couple of months ago, are attributed to Allison Brennan and dated Oct.19, 2006. The comments describe the horrific experience I endured when I was accosted by Coral Watts in the summer of '79' in Ferndale, MI. I wouldn't want anyone to think that Allison Brennan was attacted by Watts.

I don't know how, but the wrong name is on the posting.


Typepad is not very well laid out. Each comment has a line that appears below it, and the name of the commenter appears below the line. When there are several comments this can make it confusing as to who left a comment. I will look for a layout that clears up this problem, which others have mentioned.


To my knowledge, Christine McDonald was not strangled - she disappeared entirely.


Also to my knowledge, Christine McDonald disappeared entirely. I have been trying to find information on her disappearance for several years. How can I speak to the other person who commented about her? Rose


I am the Sandra Dalpe mentioned above. Just saying I was attacked from behind is an understatement. I was left for dead, I nearly died. I suffered several wounds to my back neck and face resulting in severe physical problems as well as all the emotional and mental problems that go with it. I was in intensive care for a while and then moved to a step down area of the hospital. Getting proper help from the medical system and government is a challenge I have to live with on a daily basis. He stalked me for a few days at least and I saw him at least four times before he attacked me. He was going to be the first serial killer released from prison and thank goodness the Michigan authorities found two cases to charge him with to keep him in prison. On paper he was released from prison from the Texas system.


During the first trial in Michigan the Peterson case was on Court TV so it took precedent over the Watts trial.


The Michigan Murders were commited by John Norman Collins. In the book, the author changed the names and acknowledged doing so in the book notes.

As to why almost no one has ever heard of Watts, I think you cannot overlook the fact that he was smart enough to know to keep quiet. In almost all the cases, the only evidence against him was his confession. He never gave interviews to the press. He refused to speak to law enforcement without a grant of immunity. He didn't bragged to any fellow inmates. I think there were just other more vivid monsters to talk about. It's not surprising that he was the one who almost got out of jail.


May 1, 1982 - her name was Sheri Strait. We went to the same school, worked at the same mall, across the way from each other. She and I were both working the nigh she went missing. I never really knew what happened other than she was found at a different mall's parking lot. I saw something on TV about Carl Watts years ago, I think he went by Corl. Something about the story reminded me me of one night walking to my car after work, hearing footsteps feeling like someone was following me. I kept walking faster to my car with my keys ready. I got in, locked the car looked, but never saw anyone. I know I heard footsteps. I remember hearing on the news about murders and crime and the news person said to always be aware of your surroundings. (I constantly remind my children of this) I honestly believe if I hadn't been aware I would have had the same fate as Sheri. She went missing shortly after my scare. I searched his name years ago and found Sheri's name listed, but not much information. Sheri and I both had dark hark, similar build, she was a little taller, but I am sure at 16/17 yr. 5'1" and 86 lbs, I was an easy target, had I been attacked, would have been impossible to fight back. I am sure he knew I knew he was there. I have always wondered if I was the target and he mistook her, or if she was the target and realized I wasn't her. RIP Sheri. Tomorrow 5-25-14 would have been her 30 yr High School Graduation.

Eileen McH.

Just an aside: Watts DID rape Lena "Joyce" Bennett. She lived right down the road and turn left from my house, in Harper Woods, MI. He confessed to that killing and was given immunity for it.

melanie miller

I dont know if this could have been the man that attacked me or not. They never caught the man. I was taken by a black male on my way to school. I lived on portage and went to school at edison, I was nine at the time but looked like a teen. He drove a Lincoln continental, i remember that he was wearing gray blue pants with a black or navy strip down the outside, like a postman or some type of uniform pants. He was able to get me in his car and told me to lay down and keep quiet or he would kill me. When he stopped and got in the back seat with a knife i had a accident in my pants. He got mad and let me go in a parking lot. It was 1974 but it was the first part. That was 41 years. Ago. My mom brought me to Alabama when i was ten to 10 so i would feel safe. I wonder if it was him. He had a beard at the time.

Timothy Tunson


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