March 26, 2023 3:31 pm

Blair Watts defrauded his company companion Jennifer Brown for months, prosecutors in Montgomery County mentioned Thursday. And as his desperation mounted amid his crumbling restaurant plans, they mentioned, he killed her and dumped her physique in a shallow grave.

Watts, 33, faces 1st- and third-degree murder, theft, and associated charges in the death of Brown. He was held more than for trial on all charges immediately after a marathon preliminary hearing ahead of Magisterial District Judge Richard Welsh.

The Royersford native’s lawyer, Christopher Mandracchia, vehemently contended at the hearing that the prosecution had assembled a “rubber shell of a case” that lacked proof.

“This is all circumstantial at most effective, and there is not adequate to pass this level for a 1st-degree, intentional killing,” Mandracchia mentioned.

Very first Assistant District Lawyer Ed McCann disputed that characterization, saying the proof, when circumstantial, was “significant and strong.”

Watts acknowledged that he was the final particular person to see Brown, 43, alive in January, McCann mentioned. He then reported her missing and concocted a story about her final handful of hours that the prosecutor mentioned was patently false.

» Study Extra: Business companion charged in death of Montgomery County lady he reported missing

Brown, Watts mentioned, told him she “needed a break” from youngster care, and gave him permission to take her eight-year-old son, Noah, to his household for a sleepover with his little ones. But, the sleepover took location on a college evening, and Noah did not have his necessary medication, major prosecutors to think the arrangement was uncommon and unplanned.

Inside Brown’s apartment, detectives investigating her disappearance found that she had left behind her function cell telephone, vehicle keys, and wallet. Plastic shards from her hair clip had been discovered embedded in the home’s carpet.

Brown and Watts had identified every other for a when, and had hammered out a contract partnering in a restaurant Watts had hoped to open in Phoenixville, prosecutors mentioned. Economic records showed that more than the course of a handful of months, Brown had agreed to spend Watts $14,000 to be a partial investor in the eatery, Birdie’s Kitchen. She fulfilled that obligation, prosecutors mentioned, effectively ahead of January.

Jennifer Brown was reported missing in January. Her physique was discovered two weeks later.. … Read moreMontgomery County District Attorney’s Workplace

On the other hand, banking records revealed that more transfers for $17,000 had been produced to Watts from Brown’s account immediately after he mentioned he had final observed her. These transfers came immediately after other, failed transfers from Brown’s accounts, McCann mentioned, and the profitable transfers only went by way of immediately after two-issue authentication had been abruptly deactivated on Brown’s Cashapp account.

The complete time, he mentioned, cell telephone records showed that Watts had Brown’s individual cell telephone. It was never ever recovered by investigators.

Other cell telephone records placed Watts outdoors a warehouse in Royersford for an extended period the day immediately after he reported her missing.

Two weeks later, a passerby found Brown’s physique in a hastily dug grave at that warehouse, prosecutors mentioned. Underneath her corpse was the remainder of the shattered hair clip that had been discovered in her household.

An autopsy revealed that Brown had been killed by asphyxia, and her ribs had been broken. A forensic pathologist ruled her death a homicide, probably by choking.

Detectives researching Watts’ company activity discovered that he had grossly exaggerated the status of his restaurant venture, McCann mentioned. He had repeatedly told detectives that he was weeks away from opening Birdie’s Kitchen.

But, the owners of the constructing exactly where Watts hoped to open the eatery told detectives they had ended their company partnership with him in late December. But Watts showed up at the constructing hours immediately after he claimed to have observed Brown final and told the owners he had a lot more income to invest, and begged them to reconsider, McCann mentioned.

When detectives visited the place weeks later, they discovered it in disarray: It was in no situation to be opened, McCann mentioned.

Mandracchia attempted to cast doubt on McCann’s theory of the case and recommended that a neighbor of Brown’s was a a lot more probably suspect: The man had admitted to getting an affair with Brown.

Welsh, the judge, was not swayed and held Watts for trial on all charges.

As Watts was led out of the courthouse, he told reporters he was innocent, and mentioned he missed his little ones.

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