By Michelle Mondo - Express-News
In a jailhouse interview eight days before his scheduled execution, Watts said that after five years in prison he is not ready to face death.
“Sometimes it feels like I just got here yesterday, and other times it's like I've been here forever,” he said from Texas' death row in Livingston on Wednesday.
Watts was convicted in February 2003 of the execution-style shootings of restaurant manager Hak Po Kim, 30, and employees Chae Sun Shook, 59, and Yuan Tzu Banks, 52, along with the kidnapping and rape of Kim's wife.
“There weren't a whole lot of issues to decide,” said defense attorney John Economidy, who represented Watts through the appeals process. “It's what lawyers call a clean trial.”
It was a crime that shocked the city because of its brutality and shook San Antonio's small, tightknit Korean community.
Kim and Shook died at the restaurant. Banks died at Brooke Army Medical Center the next day.
Kim's wife — just two months in America — was forced at gunpoint into her husband's vehicle and taken to an apartment complex. She was sexually assaulted by Watts and another man.
When police caught Watts within hours of the shootings, he had tied around his neck the gun that ballistics tests showed was the one used to kill the restaurant workers.
Calls to the Banks family were not returned, and most of the victims' relatives requested privacy and said they did not want to comment; some cited fear of retaliation.
Watts' family was verbally abusive toward the victims' families in court, and Watts has made public outbursts as well.
One victim's relative spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing safety concerns.
The relative said this case taught him, “There is freedom for bad and good guys, but no feeling of responsibility for bad guys.”
He added, “No one can understand the misery of these years. No one can help us recover and forget.”
“We're not saying he's innocent, but we don't think he deserves to die,” Sonia Watts said.