Updated: 6:05 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, 2008 | Posted: 2:03 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Dramatic Robbery And Murder Confession Read In York County Court Tuesday
York Co., S.C. —
Phillip Watts says he wasn't going to end his crime spree that lasted from December into February and left four people shot.
Sheriff's Lt. Tim Hager read his confession from the witness stand on Tuesday.
"I was going to continue, and then police ended it for me," Watts’ confession read. "I was going to go to York next. I knew the more jurisdictions I hit, the more police would get involved." Tuesday morning was Watts' first appearance in a courtroom since his February arrest.
Accused of seven armed robberies and shooting four people, Watts had requested a preliminary hearing for reasons that are unclear.
All the charges were read against him, including his signed confession where he admitted to every charge against him.
In the courtroom were some of his victims. Charlie Powers, the former mayor of Fort Mill who was shot in the face.
Ping Chen was shot in the shoulder at her seafood market in Rock Hill.
Watts admitted shooting her a second time after she fell to the ground. That bullet broke her hand as she tried to cover her head.
Chen said through tears that every day since the robbery at her business is frightening for her.
"Every time a customer comes in I'm scared," she said. "At night, after 6:00 p.m., I'm really scared," Chen said.
Chen says her medical bills top $33,000. "I can't quit my job. I have to work and take care of my family," she said.
In his confession, Watts talked about how he started getting into trouble after he got out of prison last September.
He said he just decided on a December night to rob a convenience store and as the crime spree went on it became increasingly violent then Watts considered killing himself.
"I thought about suicide," his confession says. "But I knew I'd go to hell if I shot myself. I didn't want my mother worrying about me if I did that," said Hager as he read from Watts' confession.
Watts also made it clear in his confession that he knew what he was doing.
"I act on the thoughts that I have, but I'm not crazy. I just want people to know that,” the confession read.
The grand jury will hear this case next week. A court date has not been set.