- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The Nevada Supreme Court upheld the death penalty against a former math teacher convicted of killing his wife in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2006, then dismembering and cooking parts of her body in an apparent attempt to keep her from taking his savings in a divorce.

Justices issued a 5-2 decision Thursday, saying there were no errors serious enough to merit a new trial or penalty phase for 74-year-old John Matthias Watson III. Justices Nancy Saitta and Michael Cherry disagreed, arguing that jurors may have been confused by instructions on whether to consider Watson’s past psychiatric issues as a reason for leniency.

Prosecutors said Watson lured his wife to Las Vegas from their Ontario, California, home on the pretense of celebrating her 50th birthday. But he had actually been planning for more than a month to kill Everilda “Evie” Watson, who he feared would leave him and take his money in a divorce, authorities said.

Watson was accused of shooting her, then cutting her up with a band saw.

While her body has never been found, authorities reported finding blood in the couple’s Jeep Cherokee, and Watson was seen on videotape buying an electric saw, bleach, odor absorbent trash bags and other items. In letters he wrote from prison, John Watson admitted to cooking part of the body.

Everlinda Watson’s children reported her missing after John Watson returned from the vacation without her.

John Watson was diagnosed with sociopathic personality disorder in the late 1950s, and spent more than a year in a Texas psychiatric hospital after committing crimes, including burglaries and indecent exposure during his teen years, court records show.

Dissenting justices said that based on the phrasing of instructions they were given, jurors may have believed the psychiatric records were so old that they shouldn’t be considered “mitigating circumstances” during sentencing.



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