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Police have possible suspect in death of retired Durham firefighter

Posted September 19, 2012

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— Police have found evidence that could link a man to the July death of a retired Durham firefighter, according to a search warrant released Tuesday.

Donald Kemp Watson, 74, was found dead in a spare bedroom at his home, at 4424 Regis Ave., on July 9. An autopsy determined he died of "homicidal blunt force trauma to the head," noting that he had multiple cuts to his scalp and face and a large skull fracture, among other injuries.

There were no signs of forced entry, and there was a trail of blood from the door through the hallway into the bedroom, according to the autopsy report. The report also notes a heavy crystal candlestick found on the floor and a glass table near the bedroom as being partially shattered.

Police found a man's fingerprints on the door frame of the bedroom where Watson was found, according to a search warrant, and a T-shirt with a red stain that tested positive for human blood was found in the man's vehicle, the search warrant states.

Investigators want to conduct a more thorough search of the vehicle for any other evidence that might link the man to the crime, such as fibers.

Durham police haven't released any details of their investigation, but they said an arrest isn't imminent.

The possible suspect is already in jail for a probation violation.

“I commend the police department for doing a thorough job,” said Rocky Watson, Donald Watson's son.

Donald Watson worked for the Durham Fire Department from 1959 to 1992, retiring as a fire captain. He later operated a towing service.

9 Comments

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  • Tarheel born Sep 20, 2012

    Also glad to hear this information....

    About the NC State Crime Lab:

    IMHO, the State Crime Lab will NEVER be held in high esteem until they double-blind all samples AND accept items to be tested from ANY source – not just law enforcement agencies.

    They should, of course, be allowed to charge for these services.

    To my way of thinking, until there is absolutely NO chance that evidence can be assumed to support law enforcement will be Lab be considered trustworthy.

    STS
    SailbadTheSinner


    Double blind - give me a break. Maybe you can pay for it. As for adding a work load from outside sources. Not feasible and not going to happen. Ever hear of private enterprise.

  • Tarheel born Sep 20, 2012

    Great police work!

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 19, 2012

    I hope they really got this guy and that the evident prove beyond doubt he is the guilty person.

  • shortcake53 Sep 19, 2012

    I hope they get evidence that convicts whoever did this. Glad to see some progess is being made.

  • Bartmeister Sep 19, 2012

    Suspect may already be in jail. Huh, go figure.

  • SailbadTheSinner Sep 19, 2012

    Also glad to hear this information....

    About the NC State Crime Lab:

    IMHO, the State Crime Lab will NEVER be held in high esteem until they double-blind all samples AND accept items to be tested from ANY source – not just law enforcement agencies.

    They should, of course, be allowed to charge for these services.

    To my way of thinking, until there is absolutely NO chance that evidence can be assumed to support law enforcement will be Lab be considered trustworthy.

    STS

  • hp277 Sep 19, 2012

    Thank goodness - I hope the DPD has their man.

    This goes to show how important forensic work is, and what a shame it is that the State Crime Lab is so poorly funded by the legislature.

  • esteryates69 Sep 19, 2012

    It sad that Mr Watson,had to die at the hand of a evil person.At least this his family so closer to his death.They been in my pray.

  • ndadszucs Sep 19, 2012

    Glad to hear it