Local News

Police have possible suspect in death of retired Durham firefighter

Posted September 19, 2012 11:38 a.m. EDT
Updated September 19, 2012 2:31 p.m. EDT

— 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.