Watkins Mad00000000

The man accused of shooting and killing Tuscaloosa Police officer Dornell Cousette, made his first appearance in court Friday.

Luther Watkins is charged with capital murder and accused of killing Cousette, who was attempting to serve warrants on him.

Watkins arrived Friday to a courtroom with standing room only. WVUA 23 Reporter Chelsea Barton counted at least 100 people, mostly law enforcement officials, there to support the fallen officer and his family.

Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit Investigator Lonny Boshell took the stand first, followed by Edward Grimes, the bail bondsman who was with Cousette when the incident occurred.

Grimes said he was not working as a bounty hunter at the time, but was helping Cousette, as he often does for law enforcement officials.  He said he knew Cousette had been looking to arrest Watkins on outstanding warrants.

Even though he was in uniform, it is still unclear if investigator Cousette was on duty at the time of his death.

“The charge Mr. Watkins is charged with, requires that the police officer be on duty in order for this to be a capital offense,” Watkins’ defense attorney Jim Standridge said. ” That’s an important part of the case.”

Judge Jim Gentry found probable cause to send the case to a Tuscaloosa County Grand Jury.

If convicted of capital murder, Watkins could face the death penalty.

Categories: Archives, Local News