He was the first known serial killer in the nation's history to have legally acquired immunity and at one point it even looked as if he would be released in 2006, in spite of having committed between 80-100 murders. When a detective said that he did not have enough fingers and toes to count all the murders he committed, Watts replied that there were not enough fingers and toes in the room. (There were four men in the room).
Usually serial killers are said to kill people of their own race; however, Watts, who was an African American, killed whites mostly.
He admitted to killing females because he saw evil in their eyes. He drowned women in a bathtub in order to prevent the spirit from escaping.
He was not caught for many years because he killed in different jurisdictions and different states. DNA tests also did not prove anything because he did not dally with his victims, unlike other serial killers.
Watts would drive a couple of hours to commit his murders. He stalked women in his car, park ahead of them, get out of the car and approach them. He killed females between the ages of 14 and 34, by strangulation, drowning and stabbing, and at times also used tools and other metal objects.
He started killing at the age of 20 but did not rape them, and some of his murders occurred without him touching the women. For him, the thrill came from the hunt and attack.
Watts' parents divorced when he was two and he lived with his mother and step-father. He was said to act weird when he was a kid. He was never good at academics but excelled in boxing. He started having dreams when he was 12, and they always revolved around killing women. In his dreams, he would punch their evil spirits and usually fell off his bed. When asked by psychiatrists later whether these dreams disturbed him, he said, "No, I feel better after having them."
These dreams slowly turned into reality and he started watching, stalking and looking into the women's eyes to find evil. By the age of 15, he began hitting and choking them. Ultimately, this was not enough to hurt those women, and he had to kill.
Due to lack of enough evidence of murder, a plea bargain granted immunity from murder if he confessed to his murders and gave details. Due to this and his good behavior, Watts could have been released in 2006. However, after Watts confessed to about 80 murders, the Michigan authorities refused to go in with the deal and got witnesses to come out and speak of a couple of murders. Watts was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. However, he died of prostate cancer in the year 2007.