According to court documents Gerald Watkins would go to the home of his girlfriend and murder her Beth Ann Anderson, their eighteen-day old baby, Melanie Geray Anderson, Charles Kevin Kelly Jr., 9. Each of the victims were shot multiple times
Gerard Watkins would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Gerald Watkins Photos
Gerald Watkins Now
Parole Number: 306CZ
Date of Birth: 06/03/1969
Height: 6′ 02″
Current Location: PHOENIX
Permanent Location: PHOENIX
Committing County: ALLEGHENY
Gerald Watkins Case
At approximately 10:00 p.m. on July 20, 1994, Beth Ann Anderson telephoned her friend and neighbor, Monique Kohlman, and told her that “Gerald [is] downstairs banging on the door.” Anderson, who was using a portable phone, asked Kohlman to stay on the line as she went to the door. Kohlman then heard Anderson say, “Who is it?” and then, “Gerald.” A few seconds later an individual whose voice and accent Kohlman recognized as belonging to Gerald Watkins, picked up the phone and spoke with Kohlman. He identified himself as ‘G’, which Kohlman recognized as Appellant’s nickname. The phone was then placed down, and Kohlman heard Anderson say “ow” or “stop Gerald.” She then heard the sounds of a struggle, and then Anderson saying, “Call the police.” After summoning the police, Kohlman went to Anderson’s home, and, as she pounded on the front door, the police arrived and forced entry. Kohlman entered the house and observed Anderson on the floor and Anderson’s 18-day-old baby, Melanie Watkins, lying on the couch. She tried unsuccessfully to detect pulses on both victims. The police then asked her to wait outside on the front porch.
Another neighbor, Ronnie Williams, saw Gerald Watkins on the porch of the Anderson home during the evening of July 20, 1994. He said that he recognized Appellant as Anderson’s boyfriend, and that he saw him knocking on the front door to her home. He did not see him enter, because he went to answer the phone. When he returned to the front door several minutes later, the police had already arrived. The following day, Williams picked Appellant’s photo from a photo array as the individual he saw. He also identified Appellant at trial as the person he had seen
Pittsburgh Police Officer Talib Ghafoor responded to the call from Kohlman. Officer Ghafoor arrived as Kohlman was trying to enter the residence. Upon entering, he observed Anderson on the floor and the baby on the couch. Anderson had wounds to her face and the baby had what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the abdomen. When the officer proceeded upstairs to secure the residence, he discovered the body of nine-year-old Charles Kevin Kelly, Jr. (“Kevin”) in the hallway at the top of the stairs. Officer Ghafoor observed that Kevin had a bullet wound near his right ear and was not moving or breathing.
Pittsburgh Homicide Detective Thomas Foley processed the crime scene. He testified that in the living room, where the bodies of Anderson and her daughter were found, a coffee table had been upturned and its contents spilled on the floor. Numerous spent .22 caliber shell casings, as well as several live rounds, were found throughout the room. Shell casings and spent bullets were also strewn about Kevin’s body. All three victims were warm to the touch, indicating recent death. Forensic pathologist Leon Rozin, M.D., testified that the victims all died of multiple gunshot wounds: eighteen-day-old Melanie Watkins had been shot twelve times; Beth Ann Anderson received eight shots to her trunk and head; and her son Kevin was shot five times in the face, head, and neck. There was soot or powder stripling around many of the wounds, indicating that the bullets had been fired at close range. The Commonwealth’s ballistics expert, Dr. Robert Levine of the Allegheny County Crime Lab, testified that all of the spent cartridge casings found at the crime scene were discharged from the same semi-automatic .22 caliber firearm, which was capable of holding a thirty-round clip. He additionally indicated that the markings on the bullets found at the scene were consistent with having been fired from a “Tech .22” semi-automatic handgun
Appellant’s friend Keith Platt testified that he had been with Gerald Watkins at a bar until approximately 9:30 p.m. on the night of the murders. One or two days after the crime, Appellant called Platt and said: “You know who this is. I’m not f—ing around. You know what I’ve done. Shut up and listen.” Appellant then told Platt that he needed Platt to contact several mutual acquaintances who owed Appellant money, and instruct them to send the money to Appellant. When Platt declined, Appellant threatened to harm Platt and his family if he did not cooperate. Platt also testified that he knew Appellant only as ‘G,’ and did not learn that his actual name was Gerald until after the murders.
In May of 1995, FBI Special Agent Robert Bendetson and other members of the New York Fugitive Task Force apprehended Gerald Watkins in New York City, and informed him of his rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 479, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 1630, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). After waiving those rights orally and by executing a form to that effect, Appellant gave the agent a statement. He said that, on the evening in question, he left Pittsburgh at approximately 7:00 in his grandmother’s car. He admitted having been at Anderson’s house earlier that day, but denied having argued with her. He said that he drove to Fort Lee, New Jersey, left the car there, and took a bus into New York City. Although Appellant admitted knowing that he was wanted for Anderson’s murder, he claimed not to have been aware of the deaths of his daughter Melanie or Anderson’s son Kevin. He also admitted having seen an episode of the television show, “America’s Most Wanted,” which featured a story about him, but claimed that he had not paid close enough attention to learn of the death of his daughter, Melanie. He admitted further that he never inquired into Melanie’s well being after learning of Anderson’s death
On August, 3, 1995, Pittsburgh homicide Detectives Logan and McDonald drove to New York to bring Gerald Watkins back for trial. After an extradition hearing at which Appellant was represented by New York counsel, Attorney Earl Rawlins, Appellant and the two officers left for Pittsburgh. Detective Logan testified that, during the initial part of the drive, Appellant was talkative, but confined the discussion to matters unrelated to the homicides. As they approached Somerset, Pennsylvania, however, Appellant raised the topic of the killings. Detective Logan interrupted Appellant and advised him of his rights. Appellant said that he understood his rights and agreed to make a statement, which Detective Logan transcribed, and Appellant ultimately signed.
At the December 9, 1996, suppression hearing, Gerald Watkins denied having spoken to Detective Logan or Detective McDonald about the killings during the trip from New York to Pittsburgh, and testified that he had not signed Detective Logan’s notes which purported to memorialize his confession. The court denied the suppression request, reasoning that Appellant was raising an issue of credibility for the jury, rather than a question of whether the alleged confession violated his constitutional rights.
According to Detective Logan’s trial testimony, Gerald Watkins began his statement by saying that “he was not the monster that the media and the police had panned him out to be.” He claimed that the killings were not premeditated, that they were just “something that happened.” He indicated that he had become jealous of a man named Lou with whom Anderson had begun spending time, and that he believed that Anderson was not being forthright with him regarding her relationship with Lou. A day or so before the murders, Anderson had spurned a marriage proposal. Appellant was also upset that his cousin Tyrone had stolen crack cocaine from him instead of bringing it from New York to Pittsburgh as instructed, and that, when he told Anderson about it, she made him feel like a “chump.” On July 19, 1994, still upset from this series of events, Appellant borrowed his grandmother’s car and drove towards Harrisburg on the turnpike, but then returned to Pittsburgh, arriving the morning of the 20th. He had in his possession a Tech .22 semi-automatic handgun equipped with a twenty-round clip. After driving around Pittsburgh and searching unsuccessfully for Tyrone, he visited his cousin Willa in an effort to calm down. Appellant then drove to Anderson’s house, gained entry with his key, and found Anderson talking on the phone, whereupon he walked into the kitchen, and then came back into the room where she was talking and shot her. Appellant denied having picked up the phone and spoken to anyone
After killing Anderson, Gerald Watkins heard the television on upstairs. When Appellant reached the top of the steps, Anderson’s son Kevin, who had come into the upstairs hallway, made eye contact with Appellant and then grabbed Appellant around the waist. At that point, Appellant decided to kill Kevin “because he knew who I was and what I had just done.” He then pushed Kevin away and shot him. Appellant checked the rest of the second floor of the house and, finding nobody else, proceeded back downstairs, where Anderson’s body was on the floor and Appellant’s daughter Melanie was asleep on the couch. He then shot Melanie because he felt that he could not raise her, and he did not want anyone else to do so. Appellant tucked the gun in his waistband and left Anderson’s residence, trying to look “normal.” He could not recall how many times he had shot any of the victims. As he stopped to put gas in the car, he noticed that his ammunition clip was empty. He then drove to New York, where he threw the gun into the incinerator of an apartment building.
When Gerald Watkins and the detectives arrived at the headquarters of the Homicide Unit in Pittsburgh, Appellant was again advised of his rights; he then read and executed a pre-interrogation warning form in the presence of Detectives Logan and McDonald, which contained Miranda warnings. Detective Logan reviewed his notes of Appellant’s statement with Appellant, and asked Appellant to sign each page if it accurately reflected what he had told the detective. Appellant signed the notes; after speaking with his mother by telephone, he declined to repeat his statement or have it tape-recorded.
Detective McDonald-who had been driving as Detective Logan transcribed Appellant’s statement-corroborated Detective Logan’s account of Appellant’s statement. He also indicated that he independently reviewed Detective Logan’s notes to ensure their accuracy. A Pennsylvania State Police handwriting expert testified that the signatures on the pre-interrogation form and on Detective Logan’s notes matched sample signatures provided by Appellant.