In a letter, a California inmate serving a life sentence for murder confessed to killing two child molesters with another inmate’s cane hours after a prison counselor ignored his urgent warning that he might become violent.
Jonathan Watson, 41, wrote in a letter to the Bay Area News Group that he clubbed both men in the head on Jan. 16 at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in the small central California town of Corcoran.
According to the East Bay Times, the first attack occurred after Watson became enraged because one of the sex offenders was watching a children’s television show.
David Bobb, a 48-year-old prisoner, died on that day. Graham De Luis-Conti, 62, died in a hospital three days later. Both were sentenced to life in prison for aggravated sexual assault on a child under the age of 14.
Watson stated that his security classification was changed days before the attack and that he was transferred from a single-person cell to a lower-security dormitory pod at the Central Valley facility. Watson described the switch as a “careless” error and said he left “quite a paper trail” to protest it.
Watson, who is serving a life sentence for a 2009 murder conviction, wrote that a child molester moved into the pod six days after he arrived. Watson suspected the man started taunting other inmates by watching children’s television.
“I could not sleep having not done what every instinct told me I should’ve done right then and there, so I packed all of my things because I knew one way or another the situation would be resolved the following day,” he wrote.
Watson told a prison counselor two hours before the next day’s attacks that he needed to be transferred back to higher-level security “before I really (expletive) one of these dudes up,” but the counselor “scoffed and dismissed” him, according to the letter.
Watson stated that he had returned to his housing pod.
According to the newspaper chain, he wrote, “I was mulling it all over when along came Molester #1 and he put his TV right back on PBS Kids.” “But this time, someone else asked, ‘Is this guy really going to watch this right in front of us?’ and I replied, ‘I got this.’ And I took up the cane and began working on him.”
Watson wrote that he then left the housing pod to find a guard and turn himself in, but on the way, he came across “a known child trafficker, and I figured I’d just do everybody a favor.” “Penny for a pound, pound for a penny.”
In an email, Dana Simas, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, stated that the agency cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.
Watson is being held in segregated housing while he is being investigated for the murders. He has not yet been charged.
This is the second time this year that allegations have been made that decisions made by California corrections officials resulted in a homicide. Rodney DeLong’s family filed a federal lawsuit last month, alleging that officials at High Desert State Prison were wrong to place DeLong in a cell with an Aryan Brotherhood member already accused of murdering another inmate. According to the lawsuit, DeLong was listed in prison records as a “enemy” of the Aryan Brotherhood and was stabbed to death within a half-hour of his arrival.
Watson’s letter was in response to a newspaper request for a phone interview, but Watson stated that he is only permitted to communicate in writing.
“As a lifer, I’m in a unique position where I occasionally have access to these people and I have so little to lose,” Watson wrote. “And believe me, we understand; these people are every parent’s worst nightmare.”