FATAL FIGHT MURDER TRIAL: Watson Sentenced to 30 Years

Tuesday, March 8

Jurors took one hour to recommend a sentence of 30 years for the punishment of Aaron Watson on the murder charge they convicted him of earlier this afternoon.

After just over two hours, jurors returned a guilty verdict for murder in the trial against Aaron Watson. The punishment phase of the trial is set to begin at 2:30 p.m.

The courtroom was packed with friends and family from both sides of the case. The room was also filled with Jailers, Deputies and Sheriff David Duke.

People in the public gallery were instructed that any emotional outbursts would result in a finding of contempt of court.

Watson was led away by law enforcement officers.

Tuesday afternoon held the beginning of the punishment phase of the Fatal Fight Murder Trial.

Jurors were instructed to consider between 5 and 99 years or life in prison for the count of murder. They could also impose up to a $10,000 fine.

The State called no witnesses, but went back over Watson's prior convictions - all out of Denton County, TX. The State rested around 1:45 p.m.

Defense character witnesses brought some emotional testimony. Tracy Carter, Aaron Watson's mother, took the stand. Carter said Watson "would do anything for anyone," and was "young, but learns from his mistakes."

Carter told Jurors she hopes they give her son the minimum. She told jurors of how Watson loved his young son, Ethan. "He would do anything he could to provide for that little boy," she said.

The Defense team also put Johnny Tadlock on the stand. He is an auto repair shop owner who was Watson's boss at the time of the Fatal Fight. Tadlock testified that Watson also lived with him at that point. He described Watson as a hard worker, a great guy to be around and "up there in the top of the greatest men I have ever worked with," he said.

Watson's father, Ben Watson, took the stand. He said his son was a good person and always did as he was ask. "He is a very hard worker, I never saw him not try," said Watson.

Court was recessed for copies of the formal charge to be made. Jurors will consider the punishment after the charge is read.

Tuesday started off with attorneys finishing out the charge sheet to be read to the jury. Jurors were seated shortly after 9:00 a.m. and the formal charge was read. Judge Mark Price read the court's instructions to them.

Jurors were told to consider first the charge of Murder. The were told to find Watson guilty of Murder if they felt he "intentionally or knowingly" killed Zamora. Secondly they were told to consider the count of Manslaughter. To find Watson guilty of Manslaughter, the instructions told them they must feel he recklessly caused the death of Zamora.

Finally, jurors were instructed to consider self defense. They were told if they felt Watson had a reasonable expectation of death or bodily injury, he must be found not guilty.

Closing arguments got under way at 9:35 a.m. with Starla Jones taking the first 8 minutes of her 40 allowed minutes. She went over the charge and instructions, highlighting the points she wanted to make the jurors understand.

Jim Rasmussen then made his closing arguments for the defense. He said Watson had reasonable fear for his life and retreated around 100 feet from an advancing group of people. He said the group, including Zamora were looking for trouble. Rasmussen pointed out the testimony about the preliminary toxicology that indicated a number of drugs in Zamora's system.

Jurors retired to the jury room at 10:18 a.m. to consider whether or not the Fatal Fight was Murder.

Shortly thereafter, Watson had an outburst in court about some of the things said in the close. Someone that appeared to be from his family tried to calm him. He was led away by a Deputy.

Judge Mark Price demanded order in the 89th District Court.

Monday, March 7

The Fatal Fight Murder Trial has resumed for the day inside the 89th District Court.

Aaron Benton Watson, 24, is accused of stabbing Samuel Zamora, 35, in the head with a screwdriver in October of 2009. Zamora later died from his injuries.

The day started later than usual. Due to State's Attorney Starla Jones being sick for the first part of last week, Dr. Marc Krouse, an expert witness for the State from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office, was not able to be present last week.

Krouse was on the stand at 10:30.

Krouse testified about his examination of Zamora's body at the Tarrant County ME Office. Moments were very emotional for friends and family of Sammy Zamora. Many times during the testimony, several people teared up. Loved ones offered hugs and tissues to those impacted by testimony.

Krouse testified the cause of death was consistent with a stab wound to the head. He said the force of a person swinging a screwdriver would have been enough to pierce the skull. Krouse testified the wound went in through the left side of the brain and crossed over into the right. He said the initial wound would have been concussive enough to knock Zamora out and the other damage would make it so that he most probably would have never woken back up.

Preliminary toxicology results were entered into evidence by Defense Attorney Jim Rasmussen. Krouse testified the results showed positives for Alcohol, Cocaine, Methamphetamine and Benzodiasepines (drugs like Xanaz and Valium). He said the results were presumptive but not conclusive enough for him to testify that Zamora had the drugs in his system.

Krouse testified there was enough margin of error for the Cocaine and Meth that they could have been false-positives. He said it would be consistent with normal treatment of wounds at a hospital for the Benzoiasepines to be in the system.

The state rested around 11:00 a.m. Court was recessed until 1:00 p.m.

The trial resumed after a lunch recess at 1:00 p.m. with the Defendant, Aaron Watson taking the stand. Watson testified that he and a group of friends had been at Falls Fest and then went to Texas Nightlife, a club. He testified they were there from about 8:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. He testified they left because of a fight between two female friends of his at the bar. He said he left with his girl friend and her friend, Heather Scroggins. Watson testified that he went back to Scroggins' apartment at Southern Oaks Apartments. He said he and his girlfriend, Amanda, got into a fight. He said he was in the bathroom of the apartment with her and told her he wanted to go. He testified she was on the toilet at the time, with her pants down. Watson testified she did not want to go, so he pushed her off the toilet - causing her to roll into the tub and hit her head.

Watson says at that point he left the apartment to get in his pickup and leave. He said he could not find his keys so he went to check back in the apartment. He says he then went back into the bathroom to check on Amanda then he left to get back into his truck and leave.

Watson testified he was mad at that point and grabbed a beer bottle from outside and threw it breaking the front window of Scroggins' apartment.

Watson says at that point a group of people, including Zamora, started following him out to the street. He says he was backing-up when Zamora swung at him. He says he swung back, landing the fatal blow. Watson says he never meant to kill Zamora. He testified the stabbing was an accident and the whole thing was in self defense.

Around 2:50 p.m. the Defense rested. A charge conference was held between attorneys to decide the exact language that will be read to the Jurors.

Court will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning with closing arguments.

Friday, March 4

A murder trial in Wichita County got underway Friday at 9 a.m.

Aaron Benton Watson, 24, is accused of stabbing Samuel Zamora, 35, in the head with a screwdriver in October of 2009. Zamora later died from his injuries.

Police said the stabbing happened at the Southern Oaks Apartments on the 4700 block of Taft. Police said witnesses saw Watson swing at the victim with an object in his hand. Police said Watson fled after he hit Zamora. Watson was located and arrested on unrelated charges.

Watson told officers the victim was verbally threatening him, and that the victim appeared to swing at him so he defended himself and stabbed the victim first.

The trial started Friday with Prosecutor Starla Jones apologizing for being out ill. The trial was expected to begin Tuesday, but was postponed until Friday due to her illness.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, opening statements began. Jones said the evidence will show Aaron Watson should be found guilty of murder.

Jim Rasmussen, a public defender, made an opening statement that Watson was defending himself.

The State's 1st witness, Heather Gourley testified that on the night of September 25, 2009, she was standing outside an apartment at the Southern Oaks Apartments when she heard a woman screaming from next door.

She said Aaron Watson came out of the apartment and went to his pickup. Gourley said Watson threatened to shoot them if they interfered in the situation.

She said a woman came out to borrow a cell phone to call 911.

She said Watson came back to the apartment and the stepped back out, grabbed the cell phone and threw it. She said he was angry "like a mad man." She testified Watson was upset they were calling Police.

At that point Gourley said Watson went out to his truck again and was rummaging through the tool box.

She said she looked up and saw Samuel "Sammy" Zamora near Watson. She said she went out to get Sammy and to tell Watson to leave.

She testified she saw Sammy drop to the ground, and she noticed he was bleeding. She testified Watson then took his shoes off and ran away.

In the afternoon a WFPD Detective took the stand as well as a Crime Scene Investigator.

Dozens of photographs and the screwdriver used the fatal attack were entered into evidence.

The CSI testified about the photographs she took, and also a video of the crime scene.

She testified that in the time between taking the photos and a few hours later when the video was taken, someone had vandalized Watson's pickup. The video showed dents, a flat tire and busted-out windows.

Newschannel 6 and Newschannel6Now.com will continue to stay in the courtroom throughout all of the proceedings.