Man accused of killing Shreveport couple again faces trial; jury selection underway
He stands accused of 2 counts of second-degree murder
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — The Caddo district attorney’s office is giving another go at prosecuting a man accused of killing a Shreveport couple whose bodies were found in a burned-out vehicle.
Jury selection is underway for the new trial of Dewayne Willie Watkins, who faces two counts of second-degree murder. That process will continue Tuesday, Aug. 23. The 37-year-old Shreveport man’s trial is expected to last all week.
The prosecutor’s office previously has said that it is seeking the death penalty against Watkins, who is accused of killing 43-year-old Kelly Jose and 33-year-old Heather Jose on the night of Nov. 8, 2018.
Investigators say Watkins kidnapped and robbed the couple after they gave him a ride from Mall St. Vincent in Shreveport.
Investigators later found the couple’s remains in a burned-out car in Shreveport’s Queensborough neighborhood.
Watkins was taken into custody after a 5.5-hour standoff with law officers the next morning in the 2600 block of Penick Street. That’s blocks from where the burned car was found in the 3400 block of Penick..
Watkins’ trial originally got underway in June. But the judge declared a mistrial after one of the prosecutors contracted COVID-19 and a key witness became symptomatic. No recess was possible due to witness and juror availabilities.
After the mistrial was declared, the families of homicide victims Kelly and Heather Jose issued a statement via email from Heather Jose’s sister, Nicole King. They also held a news conference. Their statement read:
“Nearly four years ago, our family was rocked by the murder of Heather and Kelly Jose. They were abducted, robbed, murdered, and their bodies defaced.
“In the over three and a half years since that violent crime, our family has yet to see justice for Heather and Kelly. Their alleged killer has not been brought to justice for his heinous actions. His trial has seen delay after delay, and in turn justice has been delayed and delayed.
“Heather moved to the Shreveport area when she married her husband, Kelly Jose, even though all of her family was located in California. This week, nine family members traveled thousands of miles to Louisiana to ask for justice for Heather and Kelly.
“Kelly Jose was a veteran of the Air Force; Heather Jose was a small business owner; both were beloved members of their local church and believed deeply in helping the people of their community.
“Today, at the eleventh hour, Judge John Mosley Jr. again delayed justice for our family. An assistant district attorney tested positive for COVID-19, and he rescheduled the trial for August.
“Despite being offered several reasonable accommodations, including daily testing, streaming the trial, pushing off until next week, and even replacing the ADA, Judge Mosley refused to accept them. Even against the express wishes of the DA and the defense attorneys, Judge Mosley refused.
“We understand that Judge Mosley has various health issues which put him at greater risk of COVID-19, however, he is choosing to not follow CDC guidelines, Louisiana state guidelines, and the reasonable accommodations offered to him. We respect his need to protect his health, but Judge John Mosley Jr. is putting himself before his duty to justice in Louisiana.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been disrupting our lives for over two years, and while we understand that reasonable restrictions should be made, reasonable mitigation plans should also be prepared in case important personnel fall ill with COVID. Despite being presented with several alternatives, Judge Mosley rejected these plans.
“If this is how he is running his courtroom, then we call into question Judge Mosley’s fitness for duty as a public official. His health is obviously impeding his ability to hear cases.
“We have waited nearly FOUR years for Heather and Kelly to receive justice. Four years of waiting for closure for their deaths. Four years of putting our lives on hold. Four years of delayed justice. We are devastated by this.
“If ‘justice delayed is justice denied,’ then Judge John Mosley Jr. has denied Heather and Kelly Jose justice.”
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