The man suspected of killing a woman and her two grandsons in a Land Park housing project last year was arrested Friday in a Mississippi town.
Jerod Michael Watson, 52, of Sacramento was arrested on panhandling charges by police in Biloxi, Miss., before they linked him to Sacramento’s triple homicide case. He was taken into custody about 3 p.m. Friday, Biloxi police Chief John Miller said.
Miller said officers assigned to the Police Department’s nuisance detail responded to a complaint near a local post office where Watson was allegedly panhandling.
“They confronted him. He lied about his identity at first, but they learned he was wanted out of Sacramento,” the police chief said. Investigators found Watson was listed on the National Crime Information Center database, suspected of killing three people.
The Sacramento Police Department named Watson as the primary suspect in the deaths of Christine “Tina” Lucas, 68, and her two grandsons – Marquise Brown, 23, and James R. Ferrell, 20 – on Oct.18. The three were found dead inside an apartment in the Alder Grove housing project on Broadway in Sacramento’s Land Park neighborhood three days before. Authorities found Watson’s unoccupied sport-utility vehicle in Reno a week after the killings, leading investigators to believe he was in the area at the time.
All the victims were stabbed or slashed to death, the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office reported. Brown was the father of a young girl and was employed by the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps. Ferrell had just graduated from high school and was hoping to go to college. Lucas was the wife of the Rev. John Lucas, pastor of Gloryland Revival Center.
Police said Watson was a family friend and ex-boyfriend of Twanna Lucas, the mother of Ferrell and Brown, who found her sons’ and mother’s bodies in the apartment. Sacramento court records showed Watson had a history of domestic violence charges.
The Sacramento Police Department was informed of Watson’s arrest Friday night, department spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein said Saturday.
Detectives working on the case had “information that he had family or affiliates back in that area,” Heinlein said. He did not know if the people suspected of having ties with Watson were living in Mississippi or in nearby states.
Whitney Ferrell, the sister of the two younger victims, said Saturday that she and her family were aware of Watson’s arrest but did not wish to comment.
Miller said it was unlikely that Watson had been in the area for long. He will be held at the Harrison County jail in Mississippi without bail until he can be extradited to Sacramento, authorities said.
“He's a dangerous guy. I’m glad he’s off the street. It’s some good solid work from the public and our guys,” Miller said.
Heinlein said the department was waiting for more information regarding an extradition hearing, which will determine when and how authorities will transport Watson back to Sacramento County.
“It’s kind of all in the court’s hands right now,” he said.
Bee staff writers Cathy Locke, Bill Lindelof, Ryan Lillis and Hudson Sangree and The (Biloxi, Miss.,) Sun Herald contributed to this report.