HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The man suspected of shooting and murdering another man while riding down I-565 in a van full of coworkers has now been charged with murder.
Justin Daniel Watts was arrested shortly after the January 2019 incident, in which a responding Madison Police Department officer learned that Martez Jermain Haynes, 34, allegedly shot himself while travelling eastbound on I-565 just before Zierdt Rd.
The officer then reported seeing Watts with a gun. According to investigators, the officer pulled his handgun and ordered the criminal to drop it, which he did.
Watts then told officers on the scene, according to the Huntsville Police Department (HPD), that he “shot the man” and “wanted a lawyer.”
The other passengers in the vehicle were not present when the shooting occurred, according to officials, because it occurred behind them, in the backseat. They were able to inform authorities that they all worked for a Birmingham-based cleaning company.
According to HPD, the passengers reported hearing a gunshot, and Watts then indicated that the victim had shot himself. They dialled 911 and pulled over alongside I-565.
Haynes was rushed to the hospital, but he died later that night, according to officials. According to court filings, Watts used a. 40-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver.
“There was no argument,” explained HPD’s Lt. Johnson. “None of the witnesses have said there was any altercation or disagreement or anything. We have no motive at all…I think altogether we are very lucky this individual didn’t shoot anyone else in the van.”
Watts was arrested on August 3 and released on $50,000 bond on April 12, 2019.
A status conference has been scheduled for December 1, with a jury trial scheduled on January 22, 2024, according to court records.
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