Woman charged in firefighter’s slaying gets attorney
A woman charged with first-degree murder in the death of a retired Durham firefighter was appointed an attorney Tuesday during her initial court appearance.
Crystal Brandi Fox is charged in the 2012 slaying of 74-year-old Donnie Watson.
Durham County Superior Court Judge Michael O’Foghludha read the charge against Fox and told her that if convicted, she could get death or life imprisonment, depending on how the prosecution plans to proceed.
The District Attorney’s Office has not said whether it intends to seek the death penalty.
Fox, 41, was assigned public defender Clayton Jones to represent her. She is serving a sentence at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women for drug possession.
She was indicted last month by a Durham County grand jury in Watson’s death.
Assistant District Attorney Roger Echols declined last month to say what evidence led to Fox’s indictment. He said he wouldn’t rule out more indictments, adding that the case is still being investigated by Durham police.
A bond hearing for Fox and other motions is set for the week of Aug. 4.
Watson, who ran a towing company in Durham, was found dead on July 9, 2012, in a bedroom of his home at 4424 Regis Ave. in West Durham. An autopsy found he died of “homicidal blunt force trauma to the head.” The report said he had multiple cuts to his scalp and face and a large skull fracture.
According to the report, there were no signs of forced entry into Watson’s home, and there was a trail of blood from the door through the hallway into the bedroom.
Watson served as a firefighter and captain with the Durham Fire Department for 33 years. He retired in 1992.