A fourth suspect has been arrested in the brutal slaying of 20-year-old Marka “Willoe” Watkins, who was beaten, strangled and then dumped 30 feet into an Alabama well back in July.
Over the weekend investigators in Tuscaloosa charged 30-year-old Monic Battles, wife of one of the three original suspects in the case.
Battles is married to Kendal Battles, who was originally charged in August along with Joseph Nevels and Devon Hall with murder and abuse of a corpse in Watkins' death.
“The three were all present and participated in the disposal of the body,” Lt. Jack Kennedy of Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Violent Crimes Unit told Oxygen.com, adding that so far, "we don't know yet if [Monic Battles] participated in the disposal of the body."
But the wife is believed to have been present when Watkins was allegedly clobbered with a baseball bat and strangled. She was then tossed in the abandoned well, about 12 miles away, according to court records first reported on by AL.com.
The young woman was reported missing on June 15 by her concerned grandmother, who notified local sheriffs.
On July 29, investigators found Watkins submerged deep in the well, according to the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office.
It took more than 12 hours for authorities to pluck Watkins from the hole because she had been sheathed in garbage bags and also smothered in concrete.
“Based on the way she was found with the poured concrete, and put in the well, this did not appear to be merely a hasty, panic disposal,” Kennedy said. “There was concrete poured over her; like sacks of Quik Crete you can buy at a home improvement store.”
Watkins' murder may have been provoked by the suspicion of a stolen cell phone.
Nevels allegedly told authorities that "Watkins stole his cell phone,” and that he "got upset and hit her in the head with a shotgun,” court documents say.
Watkins' alleged murderers, authorities believe, were likely taking drugs at the time of the fatal confrontation.
"It is safe to say that illegal drug use played a role in this," Lt. Kennedy said.
Kennedy noted that each of the suspects has started playing the blame game since they've been charged.
“Each of them who have been implicated being present ... have pointed fingers at all directions at each other,” he said. “That’s why we’re getting into this web."
Both Battles and Nevels appeared in district court late last month for a probable cause hearing. Prior to the hearing, Watkins’s grandmother, Kathy Harrison, wanted the accused killers answer for her family’s suffering since losing her beloved granddaughter.
“How could you do this to somebody so precious and beautiful and sweet and kind and caring,” Harrison said before the hearing, according to The Tuscaloosa News. “I’m emotional. I’m very hurt. I’m a little bit angry, too.”
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.