Fugitive shot to death after overnight standoff in Parker County

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A prison parolee described as a “notorious meth cook” and a man with a possible “death wish” brandished a pellet gun early Tuesday morning, and sheriff’s deputies shot him to death.

The death of Winford Watkins, 44, of Garland about 5:30 a.m. ended a standoff at a residence in rural Parker County that began about 18 hours earlier with a traffic stop and brief car chase southeast of Springtown.

Watkins recently failed to appear at a Collin County court where he was sentenced to 45 years in prison for burglary of a habitation and felony theft, Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said.

A woman identified as Watkins’ wife, who was with him when he was pulled over Monday, later told deputies that Watkins had vowed not to be taken alive.

“I think the guy had some kind of death wish,” Fowler said. “If he did, he got his wish.”

On Monday, a Parker County deputy running “a routine check” on a Jeep Cherokee’s license plate found that the plate did not match the vehicle, so he pulled it over on Midway Road southeast of Springtown, Fowler said.

Watkins got out of the Jeep with what appeared to be a handgun wrapped in a wad of papers, Fowler said. He also got a lug wrench from the Jeep and started pounding on the deputy’s squad car.

The deputy fired a couple of rounds but didn’t hit Watkins, who got back into the Jeep and drove off, leaving his wife standing beside the road, Fowler said.

Deputies found the abandoned Jeep on nearby Cindy Lane and a dog tracked him to a house owned by an acquaintance of Watkins.

Believing he was in the attic, deputies deployed CS tear gas Monday evening, but Watkins did not appear.

About 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, deputies at the back door of the house saw him drop from the attic.

Watkins showed the gun again, and deputies fired. Watkins was found dead in a bathroom.

Watkins did not fire, and deputies soon learned the the weapon was a pellet gun that resembled a semiautomatic pistol, Fowler said.

“I looked at it this morning when it was under his leg in that bathroom,” he said. “It didn’t strike me like it was a pellet gun. It looked like a what the officers carry on duty.”

Deputies found methamphetamine and “meth oil” in the Jeep, Fowler said.

“He was a meth cook — a notorious meth cook — is what the intelligence people are telling me,” Fowler said.

Prison records show that in 2008, Watkins was convicted in Dallas County of two counts of possessing a controlled substance (one for cocaine, one for methamphetamine), burglary of a building and in two cases of credit card abuse.

He was paroled in 2010, but six months later he was convicted again of possessing a controlled substance, “meth habitual,” the records say. He was paroled again in 2012, they say.

His wife, Dawn Watkins, 46, was held overnight in the Parker County Jail on warrants out of Carrollton, one alleging possession of drug paraphernalia, the other alleging theft under $50. She was released Tuesday on bail totaling $840, jail records say.

“What can you say?” Fowler said. “He was a fugitive out of Collin County, he told his wife he ain’t going back. And he’s going to get the police to kill him. She said that. So, that kind of redefines some things, doesn’t it?”

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763 Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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