Multi-agency manhunt ends in death

October 16, 2013
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A small privately-owned helicopter takes off from a command center during a manhunt that lasted from around 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14 until the fugitive pointed a gun at officers and was killed around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15. Photo by Carla Noah Stutsman

Subject told wife he wanted cops to kill him

By Carla Noah Stutsman

What began as a routine traffic stop around 1:30 p.m. Monday on Midway Road between Azle and Springtown ended in the death of a man who was destined for prison but didn’t want to go.

Winford Raynard Watkins, 44, of Garland and already an ex-convict, was sentenced Sept. 6 to 45 years in prison for the role he played in the burglary of a McKinney home.

Watkins, who was out of jail after posting bond, appeared for trial on Aug. 20, but failed to show up for the Sept. 6 continuation.

He was convicted and sentenced in a Collin County court in absentia, and authorities had been looking for him since that date.

The Parker County Sheriff’s deputy who stopped Watkins Monday didn’t initially know it was Watkins whom he had stopped. He stopped the white Jeep because something about its inspection sticker didn’t look right.

During the traffic stop, Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said Watkins got out of the Jeep waving a stack of papers that appeared to have a gun hidden inside.

Then Watkins pulled a lug wrench out of the vehicle he was driving and began beating the deputy’s patrol unit with it.

The deputy fired at least two shots at Watkins, who jumped into his vehicle and sped off, leaving a woman believed to be his wife in the roadway.

The deputy reported to Fowler that Watkins continually screamed “I’m not going back,” during the traffic stop.

Watkins, now chased by a second deputy, sped up Midway Road to the end of Cindy Lane, where he bailed out of the vehicle and fled on foot, heading west.

The ensuing manhunt lasted all night with Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, Azle police, Springtown police, Parker County SWAT, canine units, and a helicopter all participating in the search effort.

As law enforcement officers poured into the area and began searching, they eventually determined Watkins knew the owner of a home located near the end of Cindy Lane.

When the owner of the home arrived at the house, he told officers he noticed insulation on the floor and other signs someone had entered the house while he was away.

Bloodhounds – trained to trail the scent of humans – tracked Watkins’ scent in a wide circle beginning at the very end of Cindy Lane and ending at the home of Watkins’ friend.

Meanwhile, Dawn Charlene Watkins, 46, of Weatherford, believed to be Watkins’ wife, provided information to investigators about Watkins.

She was subsequently arrested for Carrollton PD warrants for possession of drug paraphernalia and theft.

Overnight, officers kept a perimeter around the house, and sometime after 5 a.m., Watkins made his move.

“About 5:20 this morning he dropped down out of the ceiling and engaged the deputies,” Fowler said. “He had some type of handgun pointed at the deputies and they opened fire. He was hit in the chest and he is deceased.”

After the shooting, Fowler said, Watkins crawled into a bathroom.

Officers put a pole camera through the bathroom window to see if Watkins was alive.

He appeared to be unconscious, and when police entered the residence, they found Watkins dead.

Later on Tuesday morning, the Texas Rangers were conducting an independent third-party investigation into the shooting.

Watkins’ conviction stemmed from an incident that occurred on Oct. 26, 2011 in which he and accomplices Smokey-Dawn Smith and Christopher Graham drove to the McKinney home of an acquaintance to manufacture methamphetamine.

After the acquaintance died of an overdose from other drugs that he was using, Watkins, Smith and Graham briefly left the residence but soon returned and decided to both manufacture some more drugs and to steal from the house.

Smith and Graham lifted jewelry, silverware, televisions, and other items from the house and Watkins aided their getaway by jump-starting a van they stole from the residence.

Prior to leaving, Graham started a fire that burned the house down.

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