State Seeks Death Penalty for Alleged Killer of TPD Officer
State prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Luther Bernard Watkins, the 20-year-old man accused of shooting and killing Tuscaloosa Police Investigator Dornell Cousette last September.
In court documents filed Wednesday, a state District Attorney filed official notice that her office intends to push for Watkins' execution if he is convicted of the capital murder charges filed against him in the wake of the killing.
The notice cites Ala. Code §13A-5-49, which outlines the circumstances in which the state may seek the death penalty.
The law allows capital punishment for anyone convicted of committing capital murder for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest, to disrupt or hinder the lawful exercise of any governmental function or when the victim was an on-duty law enforcement officer.
Prosecutors said in the notice that they intend to show that Watkins violated one or more of those three clauses of the code when he allegedly shot Cousette in September.
The next step for Watkins, who is being held without bond in the Tuscaloosa County Jail, is his arraignment, where he will plead guilty or not guilty to the capital murder charge against him. That appearance is scheduled for this Thursday afternoon.