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Crime News Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins

Man Kills Wife On Birthday Trip To Las Vegas In ‘Disturbingly Evil’ Plot to Take Her Life

Everilda Watson thought she'd be celebrating her 50th birthday in style on a five-day trip to Las Vegas, but the mom of three never returned home, revealing a sinister plot to take her life.

By Jill Sederstrom

It seemed like the perfect birthday present. 

After turning 50, Everilda Watson’s husband, John Watson, threw her a surprise party attended by all her closest friends and then gifted her with a birthday trip to Las Vegas.

But the gift had much more sinister implications. Everilda would never return and, according to Oxygen’s Killer Relationship with Faith Jenkins, investigators would soon uncover that her retired schoolteacher husband had crafted a diabolical plan to take her life, complete with fake identities, disguises and ominous trips through the desert to hide his true intentions.

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The couple, who had been married for 33 years, met decades earlier in Guatemala, where Everilda grew up with her family on a rural coffee plantation. John Watson had been interning in the country with a professor when he met the 15-year-old Everilda. Two years later, he returned to Guatemala and sparked a romance with the teen.

“She’s a lovely young lady, he’s a handsome man, sparks were flying from both sides,” their youngest son, Richard Watson, told the show.

John, then 34 years old, swept the 17-year-old off her feet. Despite her parents’ objections, she agreed to marry him and move to the United States. 

“My mom was independent. She saw a future with my father and went after that,” her son Michael said. 

The couple married in 1973 and settled in California.

A photo of Everilda Watson, featured in Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins 203

“My father started working as a math teacher, my mom went to high school specifically to finish it out and she was the popular girl,” Richard said. “He said ‘go make friends, come back home to me.’” 

Everilda embraced her new life. After high school, she and John moved to Ontario, California, where he worked at the local high school, and eventually the couple welcomed three sons together.

“Growing up, there was a lot of love in the family,” Michael recalled. 

But John and Everilda had vastly different personalities. While Everilda was the outgoing life of the party, who loved to go out with friends, John was much more reserved and preferred to stay home. He was also known for being notoriously frugal—something that didn’t always sit well with his wife. 

The couple considered calling it quits at one point, but they consulted their young children who urged them to stay together. So they decided to give the marriage another shot. 

When Everilda turned 50, it appeared the marriage was thriving. John had recently retired after 37 years of teaching and Everilda was looking forward to a new phase in life.

“Their relationship was on solid ground,” Michael said. “They seemed to have more fun.” 

To celebrate the birthday milestone, John threw his wife a surprise party and told her he planned to take her on a five-day trip to Las Vegas. John had also purchased her a ticket to Guatemala to go visit her family after the Vegas trip. 

John agreed to drive their Jeep out to Vegas on his own a day earlier so that Everilda-—who never liked long car trips—could just fly out to meet him the next day on Tuesday, July 11, 2006. 

“We figured that they would be having fun and staying up all hours of the night, so we tried not to bother them,” their son Michael recalled.

But on Wednesday, July 12, John called home and told his sons that their mother was missing.  

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"At that time, I really thought it was going to be OK. After being married as long as they were, you know, you both go gamble on your own and both meet up hours later,” Michael said. “My dad said that he was handling it, so we just waited for him to call us.” 

But days passed without any word from their mother and by Saturday, one of Everilda’s sons was so concerned that he called the local police. Their worry intensified after John returned home without his wife. 

“My dad does not seem upset at all that she’s missing,” Richard remembered. “So as my dad’s talking with my brothers one of them steps out so that they can call the police.” 

John told Ontario Police Detective Brad Bristow that his wife had walked off after they got into a fight the night she arrived. 

“She was drunk, upset and she took off,” Bristow said of John’s account. “John told us that he hung around looking for her, going in and out of casinos, but she was nowhere to be seen.”

He claimed that the next morning he got a call from Everilda, who told him she had met another woman from Guatemala who planned to take her to the Los Angeles airport to catch her flight to Guatemala.

But there were several things that didn’t sit well with the experienced detective. For starters, John never reported his wife missing in Las Vegas and a search of his vehicle uncovered plastic sheeting, bleach, air freshener, antifreeze, and incense. 

Even more troubling, investigators uncovered blood stains on the driver’s side, left rear seat belt, and on a piece of cardboard in a storage area of the trunk of the vehicle. John said his wife had cut her finger with a pocket knife, but the amount of blood didn’t seem to match that account.

“John’s demeanor is not anywhere near what I would expect,” Bristow said. “He is very concerned about what his consequences will be, versus what has happened to his wife.”

John was taken into custody for investigative purposes and detectives made another eerie discovery. At the time of his arrest, John had been carrying two fake ID cards under the names “Joseph Ernest Nunez Jr.” and “Joseph Ernest Nunes Jr.” He told investigators he used the identities to check into hotels in Vegas when he illegally counted cards on the casino floor, so there was no record of his actual name.

John was booked for forgery of the ID cards. While he was behind bars, his son Richard discovered an old gun in the home and turned it into police. “My dad didn’t have a gun, so what is this doing here?” he asked. 

The gun tested positive for gunshot residue, suggesting it had been recently fired.

The Las Vegas Metro Police and Ontario Police began working together to piece together the couple’s movements during their trip to Sin City. Las Vegas officers visited the Circus Circus, where John told them the couple had stayed, but they weren’t able to uncover anything useful.

However, Ontario detectives had also discovered a key card from The Tuscany Suites and Casino. They learned that John had stayed at the hotel in June, using the name Joe Nunez. Before he left, he reserved the exact same room N120, located at the very end of the hall, for July 10-14 and paid for the room in cash. 

When he arrived for the birthday trip, John also rented a second room right next to his first room. While poring through hours of surveillance footage, they found John entering the hotel wearing a dark colored wig and mustache and carrying a cane. 

“Each time he was seen at the Tuscany he was wearing a disguise and that’s what really sparked our attention,” said Las Vegas Metro Police Detective Larry Hanna.

A photo of John Watson, featured in Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins 203

Investigators searched the hotel room and found the bathroom drain tested positive for the presence of blood. They also found surveillance footage showing John buying those cleaning supplies from a nearby Walmart, before purchasing a band saw from a home improvement store. 

While investigators were putting the pieces of the case together, John was released from jail on bond. Investigators followed him as he drove about 200 miles away to Northern California, occasionally stopping and getting out of his car. Authorities discovered plastic sheeting with “some sort of decomposing biological material on it” had been left behind at one of the locations.

The evidence against John was stacking up — a second check of the hotel room revealed blood stains under a carpet and evidence came back from the crime lab confirming it had been Everilda’s blood found in both the hotel room and Jeep. Investigators believed they had enough to make their case.

Investigators concluded that John used the fake ID to rent the hotel room, then shot his wife to death before dismembering her body and disposing of it across the desert.

Marc DiGiacomo, chief deputy district attorney for Clark County, called the case "disturbingly evil."

Although her body was never found, it didn’t take a jury long to convict John and sentence him to death.

As for the possible motive, investigators tracked down a friend who said John had been thinking about a divorce, but didn’t want to split his retirement with the woman he once claimed to love. 

For Everilda’s sons, their father’s actions continue to haunt them. "When my father murdered my mother, he took away one of the brightest lights of my life and it’s hard to come back from that,” Richard said.

Watson remains on death row at the Nevada Northern Correctional Center.

To learn more about the case and others like it, tune in to Killer Relationship with Faith Jenkins Saturdays at 7/6c on Oxygen.