Man pleads guilty in 2006 murder of Kannapolis woman

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
A Charlotte man says peer pressure and fear led him to shoot a Kannapolis man and kill a Kannapolis woman in May 2006.
Jabari Dontavious Watson, whose address was previously listed as Kannapolis, pleaded guilty Monday afternoon to first-degree murder in the death of Christina Suzanne Affolter and the attempted murder of her friend Amos Lewis McClorey.
Watson, 23, accepted a plea agreement taking life in prison without parole in lieu of death.
Visiting Superior Court Judge Susan Taylor explained to Watson that he could’ve received death. Taylor also heard statements from Watson’s family, McClorey and his mother, and Affolter’s relatives.
The cases of four other men also charged in the crime ó Jeremy Lamar Hannah, Marquell Treshawn Johnson, Delron Eric White and Brian Keith Gibson ó is still pending.
All the men, including Watson, were charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
Watson, Hannah, Johnson, White and Gibson have all remained in the Rowan County Detention Center since their 2006 arrests.
Kannapolis officials and Watson, by his own admission, said the five men went to Affolter’s Walnut Street home early on the morning of May 16, 2006, for the purpose of robbery.
Rowan District Attorney Bill Kenerly said the autopsy revealed Affolter, 26, died instantly when she was shot at fairly close range. She was shot in the upper arm and chest. The bullet tore through a lung.
McClorey, then 32, was shot in the side and is paralyzed from the waist down.
Evidence collected at the scene and later in a wooded area revealed Affolter and McClorey were shot with a 12-gauge pistol grip shotgun, which was found in an area off Foster Street.
Not long after the shooting, Kannapolis investigators determined nothing was taken from the home.
Kannapolis Police investigator Kay Linker read in court from Watson’s statement following his arrest.
Johnson, who was Affolter’s ex-boyfriend, and another man planned to rob McClorey, the statement said.
A man Watson identified as “Streets,” but who court officials never named, had the shotgun that was later given to Watson when all but two got out of a car.
Watson said while on their way to Affolter’s house, two people walked by the group. A man he told police he knew as J.R. hid while the others continued toward the house.
When they finally arrived at the house, Watson said he and Streets kicked in the door.
Kannapolis Police Detective Jack Blalock confirmed on the stand that the door lock was broken and there were two different shoe prints on the door.
In his statement, Watson said he repeatedly asked the other men if they were sure they wanted to rob Affolter and McClorey.
Watson told authorities McClorey came to the door. Watson shot him in the side because he thought McClorey had a gun, the statement said. Affolter ran into a bedroom and Watson shot at her also.
Watson told investigators he fired at Affolter not knowing what happened to her behind the closed bedroom door.
Watson also told investigators he did it because of peer pressure and fear that he’d be shot upon entering the house.
One of Watson’s attorneys, Mark Rabil, an assistant capital defender in Winston-Salem, asked Linker if his client was cooperative.
Linker said yes.
Watson, standing faced, Affolter’s family and McClorey, to apologize.
He said his intention was robbery not to shoot anyone.
“It was fear. It’s not that I’m a heartless murderer,” he said.
“I may not be dead in the physical form, but I just signed my life away,” Watson said.
Watson said he didn’t know what else to give them if they could not find it in their hearts to forgive him.
McClorey told Judge Taylor he had some things he wanted to “get off his chest.”
He said he did not have a weapon, but instead had his hands up in the air when the men burst through.
“These guys were heartless. All I had was $40,” he said.
McClorey said he accepted Watson’s apology, but said on that day Watson was heartless.
Affolter’s grandmother, Carolyn McIntyre, found the two moments after they’d been shot.
She later told a Post reporter she believed Watson was only sorry he got caught.
“He’s a cold-hearted, ruthless murderer with no compassion,” McIntyre said.
Affolter’s mother, Sherry McIntyre, later said she was glad Watson was given life in prison and not allowed to go free.
“I’m all tore up,” she said.
Watson’s mother, Andrea Moss, said her son was a good child and was “not raised like this.”
Moss apologized for the pain that was caused to Affolter’s family and McClorey and his family.
“I know it can’t bring her back,” Moss said.
She noted her son owned up to his wrong choice.
Moss later said everything was in God’s hands.
Watson’s other grandmother, Marjorea Parks, said after court that her grandson connected with the wrong crowd.
She would rather her grandson not get life in prison, but instead serve some time.
“I know my grandson was not that kind of child,” Parks said.
Watson’s grandmother, Thelma Roberts, told the court that Watson is one of her 13 grandchildren.
“I am so sorry that this happened. He just got caught up,” Roberts said.
“Be strong baby,” she said to Watson.
A few members of the Affolter family and Watson’s family exchanged hugs following the hearing.
Rabil said at the close of the hearing that he commended his client for taking responsibility.
He called Watson a good kid. Rabil said he hoped everyone could put the ordeal to rest and move forward.
Watson’s other attorney was Concord’s Scott Robertson.