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Thursday, January 03, 2019

Murder Monday - Lois Kelly and Ray Harold Watford



Lois Kelly was born 11/22/1942 in Richland County, SC to Earnest Everett Kelly (DOB 3/3/1899 in SC; DOD 10/1979 in Columbia, Richland County, SC) and Ethel E. Chavis (DOB 5/12/1901 in SC; DOD 12/23/1989 in Columbia, Richland County, SC). Lois was the youngest of 3 known children: Carroll Eugene Kelly, Betty Kelly and Lois.

Earnest Everett Kelly was the son of Abram Silas Kelly (DOB 8/1869 in Union County, SC; DOD 1911 in Union County, SC) and Leila A. Fowler (DOB 8/1862 in Alston, Fairfield County, SC; DOD 3/25/1947 in Union County, SC). Earnest E. Kelly was the brother of my husband's direct ancestor, his great grandmother, Katherine "Kate" Elizabeth Kelly Cohen.

Lois married Ray Harold Watford (DOB 8/30/1936 in SC to Woodrow Clifton Watford 1916-1992 and Rosie Lee ? 1921-?). They were married in August, 1959. Ray H. Watford had served in the Korean War and was still in the reserves.

Both were murdered July 2, 1960.


 

The Times and Democrat, Orangeburg, SC, 7/5/1960, Pg 10
Body Found In Congaree Identified As Columbian
Columbia - A bullet riddled body found Saturday in the Congaree River was identified Monday as that of a young Columbia man. Police feared his wife may have met a similar fate.
One man whom police declined to identify was picked up Monday and questioned about the slaying of Ray Harold Watford, 24.
Officers said Watford's wife, Lois, 18, has been missing since about the time of the slaying, estimated at between Friday midnight and 5 a.m. Saturday.
The partly submerged body of Watford was found late Saturday afternoon in the Congaree River at Cayce, near Columbia. His identity was finally established Monday through fingerprints.
All law enforcement agencies in the Columbia area were cooperating in the investigation.
Officers investigating the slaying also examined an automobile. Stains found on the upholstery were cut out to determine if they were caused by blood. Tests also were being made on a hole found in the car to determine if it was caused by a bullet. Seven shots with a .22 caliber pistol had been fired into the right side of Watford's head. His body was found partly submerged in the river Saturday in nearby Cayce.
Officers said the condition of the body indicated the slaying possibly had occurred Friday night.
Fingerprints of the body were sent to Washington in an attempt to establish the identification and scores of people viewed the body in a local funeral home in efforts to determine the name of the victim.


The Index Journal, Greenwood, SC, 7/5/1960, Pg 3
Officers Quiz Man In Slaying, Fear Victim's Wife Murdered
Lexington, S.C. - Officers are questioning an unidentified man in the pistol slaying of a Columbia man and the disappearance of the victim's wife.
Police said they are fearful 18-year-old may have met the same fate as her husband, Ray Harold Watford, 24, found last Saturday in the Congaree River at Cayce. Watford was not identified until Monday. The discovery that his wife is missing led to speculation that she, too, may have been shot and her body dumped in the river.
Police declined to immediately identify the man who was picked up Monday and questioned after Watford was identified through fingerprints. Watford, employed by a plastics company, had been shot seven times in the head with a small caliber pistol. Officers estimated he met death between midnight and 3 a.m. Saturday. Investigating officers examined an automobile which contained stains on the upholstery and a hole in the body similar to that of a bullet puncture.
Police declined to speculate on a motive.
Before the body was identified, scores of persons viewed it at a Columbia funeral home in hopes that the name of the victim could be determined.


The Greenville News, Greenville, SC, 7/7/1960, Pg 34
Married Woman Missing
Agents Use Dynamite In Search For Body
Columbia - SLED agents resorted to dynamite Wednesday in an effort to recover the body of an 18-year-old Columbia married woman missing since last week.
Mrs. Lois Watford is believed to have met the same fate as her husband, Ray Harold Watford. Watford's bullet-riddled body was pulled from the muddy Congaree River last Saturday.
Chief J.O. (Pete) Strom of the State Law Enforcement Division gave his agents permission to use the dynamite late Wednesday after an all-day dragging operation with grappling hooks proved futile.
Three sticks were exploded in the middle of the Congaree in a line with the old government locks near Cayce. Two additional sticks were exploded close to the locks, where Watford's body was found.
The dynamite is expected to cause the body to rise to the surface, providing of course, Mrs. Watford's body is in the river. SLED officers said, however, they were working under the theory both bodies were thrown into the river from the locks.
The Watford woman was listed as missing when her husband's body was found. He had been shot seven times behind the left ear and once in the thumb.
Police admitted they were still holding a suspect in connection with the case, but refused to identify him. They did say, however, a .22 calibre pistol had been recovered from an automobile.




The Times and Democrat, Orangeburg, SC, 7/9/1960, Pg 8
Decomposed Body of Woman Found Near Small Pond
Columbia, S.C. - The badly decomposed body of a woman whose husband's body was fished from the Congaree River a week ago, was found Friday.
Officers said Mrs. Lois Watford, 18, had been shot to death. A bullet had lodged in her brain. She had been shot from behind. The body was found near a small pond near the Columbia Airport.
Officers said they were questioning Marvin Lee Garrett, 31 yrs old, of Columbia in the deaths. They said they found blood stains in his car.
Chief J.P. Strom of the State Law Enforcement Division said Garrett told of owning a nine-shot .22 pistol, but said he had loaned it to another man before the couple went missing.
The body of the husband, Ray Harold Watford, was found in the Congaree River a few miles from the pond where Mrs. Watford's body was found. He had been shot several times in the head with a .22 caliber weapon.
The Watford's were married last August. He was 28, an industrial worker.
The river near where his body was found had been searching for three days for the wife's body.


The Index Journal, Greenwood, SC, 7/9/1960, Pg 11
Columbia
Woman's Body Is Located
Columbia - Police said they expect to make charges today in the shooting death of a young Columbia couple whose bodies have been found.
They said they are questioning Marvin Lee Garrett, 31, of Columbia, in the case. They have his auto and say it is bloodstained.
Officers said Garrett admitted ownership of a 9-shot .22 pistol, but said he had loaned it to someone before last Saturday, when the couple was shot to death in the early morning hours.
The body of 18 year old Mrs. Lois Watford was discovered by a pond near the Columbia Airport Friday, a few miles from the Congaree River, whose murky waters yielded up her husband's body a week ago.
The husband, Ray Harold Watford, 28, industrial worker, had been shot at least seven times in the head. One .22 slug was found in Mrs. Watford's head.
Officers said they could establish no motive for the slaying.
Watford's body was discovered by two fishermen preparing to launch a raft. It was wrapped in building paper.
Sand in the paper did not match that in the river, and was identified as being from the airport area. That led to Friday's successful search.


The Greenville News, Greenville, SC, 7/10/1960, Pg 7
Accuse Man Of Murder Of Couple
Columbia - A week of grim developments in which two bullet-scarred bodies were found was climaxed Saturday with a murder charge being placed against a Columbia man in the slaying of a young couple.
Police said Marvin Lee Garrett, 31, admits going on a beer-drinking spree the night of July 1 with Mr. and Mrs. Ray Harold Watford. But he claims he let them out of his car just before dawn last Saturday.
Garrett had been held for questioning by police since Monday, two days after the body of Watford was found in the Congaree River at Cayce in Lexington County.
Fearing 18-year-old Mrs. Lois Watford had met a similar fate, officers dragged the river for several days without finding her body and then shifted the search to the city dump.
Friday the search shifted again and the decomposed body of the young woman was found in a wooded area near the Columbia outskirts off Platt Springs Road.
Shot Seven Times
Watford had been shot seven times in the head with a .22 caliber pistol. Mrs. Watford had been slain with one bullet.
Investigating officers said the Watfords, married last August, had been estranged for some time but occasionally saw each other and a reconciliation had been attempted. Garrett was known as a "fairly close friend" of the couple.
Garrett admits owning a .22 caliber pistol, officers said, but claims he loaned it to Watford some time ago.
Police say bloodstains and a .22 caliber bullet found in Garrett's car are being examined.
According to Garrett, he went to several night spots with the Watfords the night of July 1 but let them out of his automobile near the Capital City Ball Park in Columbia just before dawn.


The Times And Democrat, Orangeburg, SC, 7/10/1960, Pg 14
Murder Charge Placed Against Columbia Man
Columbia - A week of grim development in which two bullet-scarred bodies were found was climaxed Saturday with a murder charge being placed against a Columbia man in the slaying of a young couple.
Police said Marvin Lee Garrett, 31, admits going on a beer-drinking spree the night of July 1 with Mr. and Mrs. Ray Harold Watford. But he claims he let them out of his car just before dawn last Saturday.
Garrett had been held for questioning by police since Monday, two days after the body of Watford was found in the Congaree River at Cayce in Lexington County.
Fearing 18-year-old Mrs. Lois Watford had met a similar fate, officers dragged the river for several days without finding her body and then shifted the search to the city dump.
Friday the search shifted again and the decomposed body of the young woman was found in a wooded area near the Columbia outskirts off Platt Springs Road.
Watford had been shot seven times in the head with a .22 caliber pistol. Mrs. Watford had been slain with one bullet.
Investigating officers said the Watfords, married last August, had been estranged for some time but occasionally saw each other and a reconciliation had been attempted. Garrett was known as a "fairly close friend" of the couple.
Garrett admits owning a .22 caliber pistol, officers said, but claims he loaned it to Watford some time ago.
Police say bloodstains and a .22 caliber bullet found in Garrett's car are being examined.
According to Garrett, he went to several night spots with the Watfords the night of July 1 but let them out of his automobile near the Capital City Ball Park in Columbia just before dawn.



The Greenville News, Greenville, SC, 7/15/1960, Pg 2
Friday, July 15, 1960
At Lexington
Garrett Charged In Double Slaying
Lexington - Marvin Lee Garrett, a 31-year-old former resident of Laurens, Thursday night was charged with the July 2 double slaying of Ray and Lois Watford on a lonely Lexington County "lover's lane."
A warrant charging murder was sworn out by Coroner Raymond Caughman after an inquest in the courthouse here.
Garrett, is being held without bond, Solicitor Robert E. Lang said.
Nearly 600 persons, about half of them women, jammed seats, aisles and corridors of the small courtroom Garrett did not appear.
The accused has not admitted the slaying, SLED Chief J.P. Strom testified, but here is some of the testimony on which the jury based it's recommendations:
BLOOD STAINS IN CAR
-Bloodstains in Garrett's car match bloodstains found on a piece of furniture packing believed used to cart 23-year-old Ray Watford to the Congaree River, where his body was found.
-A .22 caliber pistol, identified as Garrett's, fired at least 10 shots - seven into Watford and two into the 18-year-old estranged wife, Lois. One bullet was found lodged in the upholstery of Garrett's car.
-One or two pieces of furniture packing paper were found in the cuff of a pair of Garrett's pants and many pieces were found in his car.
The six-man jury deliberated only 19 minutes after eight witnesses went to the stand. The inquest lasted for about an hour and 45 minutes.
Watford's body was found by a young Monroe, N.C. youth, Jack Tresson, who with another N.C. youth found the corpse on July 2 while searching for a site to launch a canoe in the Congaree River just below Cayce.
Tresson said he saw the body floating face-up about three feet from shore in a backwash.
Cayce Police Chief Joe Dodenhoff said he and other officers found Mrs. Watford's body about 1 a.m. on July 9 near the Airport Pond in Lexington County.
Searchers were led to her badly decomposed body after they found two large blood spots and her pedal pushers bundled in a bedspread near where the body was found.
Tavern Tour
Chief Strom testified that Garrett had taken him and other officers on a tour of 12 taverns in neighboring Richland County where Garrett said he had been the night of the slayings. Garrett was arrested July 4 in connection with the deaths.
The tour of taverns ended, however, the SLED chief said, at one where Garrett said he picked up the Watfords. Garrett told officers earlier that he had let them out of his car just before dawn after a round of night spots on July 1.
Garrett had about 16 beers the night of the slayings were committed. Chief Strom told the inquest panel.
Testimony from Chief Strom indicated that Watford was with a girl identified only as "Peanut" before he was picked up by Garrett on the night the young husband and wife was slain.
Garrett had been to the lover's lane at least once before and it was "a pretty common occurrence" for Garrett to carry a bedspread in his car, Chief Strom testified. The dead woman's toreador trousers had been found wrapped in a bedspread.
FYI-A young woman (not Lois Kelly Watford) wearing "toreador trousers".
After officers completed the testimony, the dead woman's brother, Carroll Kelly, 34, of Columbia, and her father, E.E. Kelly, told the coroner that Mrs. Watford was pregnant when killed.
However, Lt. M.N. Tate of SLED said that a doctor at the autopsy determined that she was not.


Florence Morning News, Florence, SC, 9/8/1960, Pg 12
Garrett Given Life Sentence In Two Deaths
Columbia - Marvin Lee Garrett was sentenced to life imprisonment Wednesday in the slaying of a young Columbia couple who gunshot deaths were the climax of an all-night drinking spree.
Judge Julius B. Ness of Bamberg passed sentence after the prosecution agreed to a consent guilty verdict with a recommendation for mercy.
Chief J.P. Strom, of the State Law Enforcement Division, testified that drink and a broken home played a part in the slayings. He said he was convinced the murders of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Harold Watford were not premeditated.
The defense said the killings were the result of an all night drinking party which began in the evening of July 1 and ended early the next morning.
Mrs. Watford's body was found July 9 a half-mile off the old Platt Springs Road in a West Columbia's lover's lane. Watford's body was found July 2 in the Congaree River.
Garrett's lawyer told the court that his client could give no reason for the slayings. The Watfords were known to have been on friendly terms with Garrett.

Marvin Lee Garrett was born 11/4/1929 in Georgia to William Harvey Garrett (DOB 4/1/1902 in GA; DOD 11/30/1970 in Easley, Pickens County, SC) and Beulah Ward (DOB 3/7/1909 in Mellena County, GA; DOD 4/6/1995 in Chesnee, Spartanburg County, SC). He had a brother, Franklin Garrett and sister Lois Garrett Freeman.

Marvin married Betty Jane Stoddard (DOB 4/14/1932 in Laurens, Laurens County, SC to Samuel D. Stoddard and Lillian C. Moore; DOD 2/5/2004 in Laurens, Laurens County, SC). They had two daughters: Anne S. Garrett (married Gillard) and Rosemerry Lee Garrett (DOB 1/29/1950 in Laurens, Laurens County, SC; DOD 5/11/1994 in Greenville County, SC) (married 1st James William Gross and 2nd Jerry McAlister).

U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, 1960 City Directory of Columbia, SC

For whatever reason, Marvin Lee Garrett did not spend life in prison.

If you have any further information or corrections, contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

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