08-15-2006, 11:42 PM #1
FL - Jackie Bradley, 43, Christal Wiggins, 29, & Carrie Caughey, 18, murdered, 2004
STUART — The three murders attributed to accused "Salerno Strangler" Eugene Wayman McWatters Jr. will be consolidated into a single trial, prosecutors and the defense attorney agreed Tuesday.
McWatters, 28, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and sexual battery in the stranglings of Christal Wiggins, 29, Jackie Bradley, 43, and Carrie Caughey, 18, whose bodies were found between March and June 2004.
10-04-2006, 08:45 PM #2
Jury recommends death for 'Salerno Strangler'
STUART – It took a Martin County jury a little under two-and-a-half hours today to decide Eugene Wayman McWatters Jr. should die for the "Salerno Strangler" murders.
Martin County Circuit Judge Larry Schack will take the jury's verdict into consideration when he officially sentences McWatters for the 2004 murders of Jacqueline Bradley, 43, Christal Wiggins, 29, and Carrie Caughey, 18.
The verdict was divided among the victims: Ten jurors to two voted McWatters should die for the Wiggins and Caughey killings; nine to three voted for death for the Bradley killing.
A sentencing date has yet to be determined.
Schack's courtroom filled within minutes after a courtroom bailiff announced that a verdict had been reached. The victims' families packed in behind the prosecution table and McWatters' biological mother and the aunt who raised him sat behind the defense table. During his closing statements, Chief Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl made a powerful plea that all 12 jurors realize the magnitude of McWatters' crimes and their cruel nature. To that effect, he described how McWatters likely lured the women to secluded spots with the intention of killing them.
09-19-2015, 05:40 PM #3
From April 2015:
Eugene McWatters, 37, pleaded no contest to three counts of first-degree murder just as his retrial on the charges was about to begin, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said late Friday. He was immediately sentenced to the three consecutive life terms.
In 2006, McWatters was convicted of the 2004 slayings of three women... A judge last year, however, awarded McWatters a new trial, saying his attorneys had represented him poorly. McWatters had been on Death Row before that ruling...
In 2007, McWatters was spared after the judge vacated an order to have him chemically castrated, which can be ordered in sexual battery convictions.
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