Early media reports of Sam Watson’s involvement in his brother’s alleged murder of Carol Chacon in the thrift store she worked in Wednesday have tarnished the name of a man who, according to his lawyer and many public social media posts, is a family man respected in his community.
Sam Watson’s brother, Christopher, has been charged in the stabbing death of Chacon, 54, a clerk at the Project Thrift Store in Sanford.
Sam Watson was arrested by Sanford Police and charged with being an accessory after the fact. While the Sanford Herald reported today that Sam Watson remained in the Lee County Jail without bond, sources have confirmed to The Rant that his bond was reduced Thursday morning to $50,000. He has posted that and been released.
Christopher Watson remains jailed without bond.
That Sam Watson’s bond was reduced could indicate any of several things – but primarily that he is not perceived by the judge as a threat to his community or a flight risk. Sam Watson has no prior criminal record.
His attorney, Chip Post, told The Rant that Sam Watson maintains he is innocent of “allegedly aid(ing) Christopher in attempting to escape and in the concealment of evidence after learning that Watson committed murder,” as the Sanford Herald reported.
“My understanding is that Mr. Watson is respected in his community. He is gainfully-employed to provide for his wife and children,” Post said. “He maintains his innocence and we plan to vigorously defend him against these accusations by the government.”
Innocent or not, the damage to Sam Watson’s name has been done, specifically in online comment forums on The Herald’s Facebook page and at WRAL.com.
“Scumbags!” wrote one Facebook commenter, earning 16 “likes” in the process.
“I’m so glad they were caught right away. Piece of crap, both of them,” wrote another, earning 15 likes. “I tell you God is going to deal with these two men, they didn’t have to kill her.”
“It doesn’t matter how they was (sic) when they was growing up, a sweet lady is gone because of these ‘good guys.’”
The comments go on. But others are pushing back against the bloodthirsty chorus attempting to implicate Sam Watson in the crime.
“We aren’t 100 percent sure that his brother had anything to do with it. I know they are saying that he was an accessory but, from what we know he is the one who actually tipped off the police,” wrote commenter deepntheshadows on WRAL’s report.
Richard Blackwelder, who identifies himself as a friend of Sam Watson, also posted a comment to the Herald’s Facebook site, saying Sam Watson was with him at the time of the murder and that he was responsible for alerting police to his brother’s crime.
“Sam Watson is a good friend of mine, and I KNOW EXACTLY where he was when this terrible crime was committed, he was with me,” Blackwelder wrote. “Sam turned his brother into the police. Can you imagine how difficult that was? What Sam’s brother did is horrible and he will get what he deserves. But what Sam did was right and just and extremely difficult.”
While the idea that Sam Watson told the police his brother was responsible for the murder hasn’t been corroborated by the police or media, there is some evidence to support the theory. In time-stamped mugshots provided by the Sanford Police Department, Sam Watson’s arrest is listed as taking place at 225 W. Weatherspoon Street – the address of the Sanford Police Department – on Wednesday, May 28. His brother wasn’t arrested until the next day. That could be consistent with the idea that Sam Watson was at the police department voluntarily.
Additionally, Sam Watson has been the subject of local media recently — only in a much more positive light.
In December, The Herald profiled Sam Watson’s daughter, who used money she’d saved all year for a doll to buy Christmas gifts for a needy child instead. In that story, Sam and his wife were identified as not “the stereotypical image of philanthropists. But they said they’ve given to the Salvation Army or other charities for years because it’s the way they were raised and the way they’ve been trying to raise their own kids.”
Thank you for writing this… Too many times the press and the public convict people of crimes long before the suspect has had their day in court. In a town like Sanford where everyone knows everyone and everyone is up on gossip it’s even harder for things to be heard in a fair light.
Refreshing to see “the other side”. Everyone should ask themselves what their actions would be if a close family member came with this confession. How quickly would you get over the shock and realize you had to turn your own family into custody for what should be the rest of his life? The whole story has not been revealed, think twice before pointing your poisonous fingers based on initial, sensationalized media reports. There’s no denying Carol’s death was horrific and a great loss to the community. My heartfelt prayers go to all who loved and will miss her. But my prayers also go to Sam Watson and his family. If your version is true, I applaud your courage in bringing your own brother to justice and perhaps even saving someone else in the community in the future.
While we all sympathize with the victim’s family, friends, and the community, let’s not forget the final judgment is not ours. It’s human nature to want to see justice played out. We should be praying for all families involved and if the brother is indeed not involved, the community should praise him for doing the right thing especially since it was his brother. I hope we would all be as brave and a stand-up citizen. God bless them all.
Good for you guys! It is easy to start a gossipy wildfire in a small town, and now, with Social Media, it is even more volatile. Kudos for trying to throw some baking soda on the fire!