The Sunday Morning Slasher

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Carl Eugene Watts was born on November 7th of 1953 in Killeen, Texas, as one of nine children. His father, Richard Eugene Watts, a was in the Army, and his mama, Dorothy Mae Young, was an elementary school art teacher. In school the boy was relentlessly picked on by his peers, but eventually earned himself a reputation for fighting all of the time at school. Still, it seems that his favorite pastime was abusing girls.

At the age of 12 Coral had begun to stalk females, and by age 15 had already broken into homes; soon he even sexually assaulted a customer on his paper route. For this crime Coral was sent to a mental institution to be evaluated. It was noted that the young man had poor impulse control, said to have had an IQ of 70 (though he was a brilliant criminal, honestly. A low IQs doesn’t make a person stupid as many believe), and the psychiatrist stated that he had homicidal tendencies. Nevertheless, Coral was permitted to go back to school where he continued to harass his female peers.

After graduation, Coral received a football scholarship to Lane College in Tennessee, but that didn’t last long; within 3 months he was kicked out for stalking and sexually assaulting a female student. On top of this, he was suspected of a murder, which is believed to have been the first of many. Coral moved back home and continued his college in Kalamazoo. In his early 20’s he became a father to a little girl and later married and eventually found work as a bus mechanic, but becoming a family man did not deter him from killing.

October 25th of 1974, Lenore Knizacky was attacked by a man who’d knocked on her door. Lennie was extremely fortunate as she actually survived. Not even a week later, 19 year old Gloria Steele was tortured and stabbed 33 times, and the wounds made a strange pattern. Soon after this murder, a woman named Diane Williams was attacked after she answered the door. She fought for her life, lived, and was actually able to describe her attacker and his vehicle to police.

Police brought Coral in and he was picked out of a line up. He admitted to having assaulted 15 women, but refused to speak of any murders. Again Coral was forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and this time he was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. Again the Dr warned that he had violent tendencies and was likely to harm someone. Still, he only spent a year incarcerated for these crimes and our killer was free to kill again and again.


In 1980, three Ann Arbor women were murdered: 17 year old Shirley Small died after being stabbed repeatedly while walking on the side of the road. 26 year old Glenda Richmond was discovered right inside the entrance to her home, she’d been stabbed 28 times the moment she’d answered her front door. And 30 year old Rebecca Greer Huff was stabbed 54 times just outside her front door. Each of these women were killed several weeks apart, and they all died on a Sunday morning – hence the name “The Sunday Morning Slasher”. A police officer from Detroit recognized this killer’s Modus Operandi immediately, and he just knew it was Coral. In all three murders the stab wounds made the same distinct pattern which he had recognized from the murder of Gloria Steele.

Investigators brought their suspect in for questioning, and though he didn’t really deny being the killer, Coral sure didn’t admit it either. Since they didn’t enough evidence to hold him, police had to let the killer go. This would be an ongoing theme: police knew Coral was responsible for murder but he left zero evidence at the scene so they couldn’t charge him. That said, investigators did begin surveillance on the man, but he quickly noticed that he was being watched and therefore Coral was on his very best behavior.

The minute police stopped watching him so closely, Coral high tailed it out of town. As soon as Michigan authorities found that Coral had moved to Texas, they promptly called Texas to inform them there was a killer in their midst. Houston Police trailed the man for two months, but sadly constant surveillance for months on end isn’t usually in the budget, and Coral wasn’t doing anything wrong while police were watching anyways. So they had to settle for checking up with the known killer here and there.

Police sketch of the serial killer.

I’m sure you know what happens next: Houston women began turning up dead. But Coral, who was certainly no dummy, had learned something very important from his Michigan murders: switch up your MO! He threw investigators off by using different murder methods. Some he strangled, some he stabbed; one was hanged from a tree, while another was drowned in a swimming pool. And it worked, these killings weren’t immediately connected to him.

In August of 1982, Coral did his best to take the lives of two women; he forced himself into their apartment when one of the women was entering her home. He attacked one, knocked her out, then turned his attention on drawing a bath for her friend. As Coral was busy drowning the one victim, the other awoke and ran off screaming bloody murder for her life. She later described actually jumping off the second story building and calling for a neighbor to get help. Coral ran when he realized his victim was free, but he was caught fleeing the scene. Miraculously both of these ladies did survive, and they both did positively identified their assailant. This time Coral was charged with robbery with intent to kill.

Police still didn’t have the evidence to charge the killer with any murders so while he was incarcerated they struck a deal: if he confessed to his Texas murders, he would not be charged for them; he would receive immunity, which police felt was better than nothing. While there would be no justice for his devastated victim’s families, at least they would finally have some answers. They anticipated Coral would be imprisoned forever for the attempted murders anyways so, everybody wins. Right?

Coral sung like a bird. The killer admitted to having stalked and murdered 12 women: 11 in Texas and another in Michigan. He stated that he would drive an hour or so away from home to find his victims, which is smart – as the old saying goes, you don’t s*it where you eat. He would then zero in on a victim, stalk her, and then murder her. Coral was an equal opportunity killer; he did not give a hoot about race, he killed women of all skin tones (which is uncommon for serials – not unheard of, but definitely uncommon) and they were anywhere between the ages of mid-teens to 40’s. This killers weapon of choice was something he could stab with; he is known to have used carving tools, an icepick, screwdriver, a scalpel, a knife – just anything sharp. He was so cooperative, the killer even lead investigators to 3 of his victim’s bodies.

When asked why he killed these women, Coral stated that he believed them to be evil; that they all had evil in their eyes. His ritual was, after they were good and dead, he’d steal something personal which belonged to them, and then he would destroy this item. By burning the object, he was “banishing their evil spirits”. Then, after he’d committed his early morning homicide, he would make sure he was back home in time for Sunday morning service at his Pentecostal church!

So I already mentioned that Coral was originally tried for burglary with intent to commit murder. He plead guilty to this and was sentenced to the maximum: 60 years – but there was a technicality! With gain time for good behavior he was to be freed after serving much less than half of his sentence. Coral himself was actually the one who caught a loop hole in his case. Investigators said that they’d never met a luckier criminal; if there was a technicality or a break to be had, Coral would catch it every single time.

This killer actually won his appeal. Due to a mistake, the water in the bath tub with which he had attempted to drown his surviving victim could not be considered a murder weapon and his charge was downgraded! He was merely guilty of burglary, not attempted murder. Within 2 years of having his charges amended Texas would have to set free a confessed serial killer, and there was absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that there would be a trail of blood wherever Coral Watts should go.

Michigan was in a state of panic, they knew that they absolutely could not allow this horrible man to walk free! They tracked down a witness to the decades old murder of Helen Dutcher, and they decided to try their luck by finally prosecuting Coral for that and the killing of Gloria Steele. The judge deemed Coral’s former murder confessions admissible in the trial, the ones he could not be tried for, and several of his surviving victims were brought in to testify. In the photo below you’ll see one victim, Ontario’s Irene Kondratowiz, demonstrating the way Coral had slashed her throat.

In 2004, this killer was found guilty by a jury of his peers and sentenced to life in a Michigan prison cell. We will never know how many lives this saved. Finally Coral Eugene Watts died of prostate cancer in 2007 whilst still serving his time in prison.

As for the victim’s families, of course they are still upset about the way this whole thing was handled. Had police notified the public that there had been a serial killer on the loose, maybe some of these women still be alive; they would’ve been more cautious, and armed themselves. Most assuredly they wouldn’t have been out walking alone on a Sunday morning or answering their door for strangers. Though we know for a fact that he killed nearly two dozen, it’s surmised that Coral’s true body count is somewhere along the lines of 70-100+. He did tell police there were 80 more victims in Michigan and Canada, but because no one would offer him immunity again, the killer took this information with him to the grave.

One terribly sad aspect of this case is that an innocent 25 year old man by the name of Howard Mosley was accused and actually convicted of one of Coral’s horrendous crimes. On January 30th of 1982 the serial attacked a Galveston lady by the name of Patty Johnson as she was walking from her vehicle to her front door. The 19 year old’s throat was slashed, but when the victim screamed a neighbor came running to the rescue. At this time the cowardly killer ran away.

The innocent Howard Mosley

Thanks to this man Patty did survive the attack, and was brought in to look at a line up; sadly she chose Howard, who had a rap sheet for two prior convictions involving robbery and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Though the man vehemently denied all allegations, he was still convicted of attempted homicide on July 15th of 1982 and sentenced to life. Thankfully this was one of the attacks which Coral admitted responsibility for, and on September 2nd of 1982 Howard was finally released. Horrible to think that, had the killer not taken responsibility for this one, an innocent man would have rotted away in prison. I can not find any further info on this, but I do hope he was able to successfully sue the state for ruining his life. Let’s hope there aren’t other innocent men serving time for this serial killer’s crimes.

Hey y’all! Hoping everyone’s doing alright! I know I haven’t been around for a bit, my apologies! Sometimes life gets hectic, stressful. My oldest son has his next appointment with the neurologist this week, which has us stressing. I may go a little while without posting something but I’ll never actually quit. I promise! And I do my best to post something new on Patreon every week, I owe my patrons that lol. Again, thanks for reading, y’all. 🖤~ Crystal Bearr

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