Osage man indicted on murder charge

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Steven A. Watts

DIXON, Ill. -- An Illinois grand jury indicted Steven A. Watts last Wednesday on a charge of first-degree murder, Lee County State's Attorney Anna Sacco Miller said.

Watts, 56, was arrested on Feb. 28 at his home in Osage and is currently being held in the Lee County Detention Center, in Dixon, Ill., on $5 million bond.

Watts is accused in the killing of Gary Dawson, an auto mechanic whose battered and nude body was found on Aug. 28, 1983, in a hog pen in rural Franklin Grove, Ill.

Authorities have said Dawson died of blunt force trauma to the head. Lee County Sheriff John Varga said police think the killing was drug related and that all those believed to be involved were enmeshed in drug activity.

Watts was arrested once before in relation to the crime. He was convicted of obstructing justice in 1987 and sentenced to 2.5 years probation.

Watts moved to California not long after his arrest and later relocated to Carroll County, where he had lived and worked for the past 15 years.

Authorities had tried to keep Watt's arrest under wraps, to avoid alerting other suspects. All records of the case were sealed on Feb. 21, at Sacco-Miller's request. Records of his 1987 arrest and conviction were later sealed by a judge, as well.

Sacco-Miller told The Dixon Telegraph last week that police were looking for two other suspects in the case, both believed to be in the Dixon area. She would not say on Monday whether more arrests had been made.

Watts is being represented by Lee County Public Defender Robert Thompson. He is scheduled to appear in court again at 10 a.m. on Apr. 4 in the Lee County Circuit Court.

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