State agency probes why 2 charged in killing were free

Two state parole agents have been suspended as officials investigate why two ex-convicts now charged in the slaying of an 80-year-old woman at her suburban Detroit home were free at the time of the killing, the Michigan Department of Corrections said.
AP Wire
Feb 7, 2012

 

The agents supervising Alan Wood, 48, and Tonia Watson, 40, passed up numerous opportunities last year to return the pair to prison, the Detroit Free Press reported today. The newspaper cited a review of records in cases involving Wood and Watson that indicated they were suspected of committing new crimes ahead of the slaying in Royal Oak.

Wood and Watson are charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 20 death of Nancy Dailey, whose hands were bound and throat slashed. They are being held pending the resumption of a preliminary hearing March 16. They face automatic life in prison without parole if convicted as charged.

Lawyer Jack Holmes, who has represented Watson since December, said this morning he wasn’t familiar with details of her time on parole. A message seeking comment was sent today by The Associated Press to lawyer Elias Escobedo, who represents Wood.

MDOC spokesman John Cordell said that an internal investigation is under way to determine whether any work rules or department policies were violated regarding the supervision of Wood and Watson. He confirmed that the two employees were suspended with pay.

Other disciplinary action could follow, he said, and steps have been taken to better target parole violators and parole absconders.

The department said in an email it “was deeply saddened and outraged at the brutal, senseless murder.” The MDOC said: “It was a tragic event beyond measure. And the fact that offenders under our supervision have been charged with the murder troubles us greatly.”

A month before the Nov. 20 slaying, corrections officials cited Wood for three parole violations, but then turned him loose, the newspaper reported. Records also show agents knew Wood and Watson were suspects in the thefts of a gun from a Berkley home and credit cards from a Royal Oak home.

Holmes said Watson had nothing to do with the Berkley theft. He said the timeline of when the thefts reportedly took place was accurate.

Police have said Dailey was beaten to force her to disclose her bank card PIN. Wood and Watson were arrested two days after the killing at a Meijer store in Wayne County’s Canton Township. They were planning to leave the state that day, police said.

Records show Wood’s past convictions included home invasion, while Watson’s convictions included had gun and stolen property crimes. Both were paroled in 2010.

 

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