Two suspects make court appearance for the murder of Willoe Watkins

Local News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Two men accused of brutally murdering 20-year-old Willoe Watkins from Jefferson County earlier this summer made a court appearance Friday morning in Tuscaloosa for a preliminary hearing.

Kathy Harrison is the victim’s grandmother. She, along with a group of family members, attended the court preliminary hearing held at the Tuscaloosa County Jail. It’s the first time Harrison has seen the two men accused of killing her loved one.

“How could you do this? How and why could you do this to somebody so precious and beautiful and sweet and loving and kind and caring? She trusted everybody and she would do anything to help anybody. I wish they could get the death penalty because I feel they deserve it. They really do,” Harrison said.

Kendal Battles and Joseph Nevels are charged with murder and abuse of a corpse. The men are accused of killing Watkins in July then dumping her body down a well in Vance in Tuscaloosa County.

Harrison says her granddaughter’s death has shaken her up and has been a devastating loss.

“I am miserable, I can’t even go into her bedroom anymore. I cry every day and I cry myself to sleep every night. She was everything to me and she was my whole life,” she said.

Investigators say Watkins was beaten with a baseball bat and hit on her head with a shotgun then strangled. After Battles and Nevels allegedly dumped her body in the well, investigators say they poured concrete down the well to conceal the murder.

“She is an angel in heaven I know, and I keep trying to look at it that way and she won’t have to go through what goes on this world anymore. She won’t have to go through any more trials and tribulations and she was an angel on earth and she was a Christian.”

The suspects’ lawyers asked judge Joanne Jannik to reduce the men’s bonds. They are set at one hundred sixty-five thousand dollars apiece. Judge Jannik, she will take the request under advisement but did not make a decision. The judge said there is probable cause to send this case to a Grand Jury.

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