Thursday, June 25, 2009
Death probe continues
By SUE WATSON
Phillip Lynn Watts, 55, of 86 Pontotoc Street in Potts Camp, was found dead in his driveway Saturday around 10 a.m. by a group in the ministry, said sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
The group saw the body about halfway between Pontotoc Street and Watts’ residence and called law enforcement, he said.
It appeared Watts had been beaten at his carport and crawled from his carport toward the street - a distance of about 75 feet - perhaps in an attempt to get help, and died there, the sheriff said. Watts had lost a leg in an automobile accident and got around in a wheelchair, he said.
The wheelchair was found folded on its side in the carport, he said.
“He had what appeared to me to be severe blue and black marks on his upper torso, head and neck area and to the mid-section,” Dickerson said. “The marks looked like the result of a severe beating.”
From past experience, Dickerson said Watts could have died sometime during the night around midnight. Watts lived alone, he said.
Officers with the Mississippi Highway Patrol and with the Highway Patrol mobile crime unit and crime investigation assisted the sheriff’s department in collecting crime scene evidence which will be tested forensically in Jackson and checked for DNA evidence, the sheriff said.
Traces of blood were found on the wheelchair, on the carport floor concrete and on a couch in the carport which led investigators to believe Watts was assaulted in the carport area. Preliminary autopsy findings showed Watts had blunt-force trauma to the upper torso and head area which most likely contributed to the cause of death, Dickerson said. Further forensics and toxicology and autopsy results will possibly yield more conclusive results, he said.
The sheriff’s department is seeking tips from the public that may provide leads for the investigation.
“We are asking that anyone with any information, regardless of how slight or unimportant it may be, to call us at the sheriff’s department (662-252-1311),” Dickerson said. “We are in dire need of help in solving this case.”
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