Man accused in murder of pregnant woman returned to Charlotte

Credit: Glenn Counts

A makeshift memorial outside The Flying Biscuit in Ballantyne.

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by NewsChannel 36 Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on January 16, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Updated Sunday, Oct 27 at 12:08 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Mark Anthony Cox was booked in the Mecklenburg County Jail Tuesday morning and charged with murder and two counts of armed robbery in the death of 25-year-old Danielle Marie Watson.

Cox allegedly stabbed Watson to death in the kitchen of the Flying Biscuit Cafe in Ballantyne Friday night.

Cox was apprehended at a friend's house on Hedgelawn Way in the northern outskirts of Fayetteville on Monday afternoon, and Watson's 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier was found at a nearby apartment complex.

On Tuesday morning, a wrecker truck brought a blue Chevrolet Cavalier to CMPD headquarters in Charlotte's uptown. It fit the description of the car that Watson had been driving.

Watson was two months pregnant when she was murdered while closing the Flying Biscuit Café at StoneCrest shopping center Friday night in Ballantyne.  Watson was planning to marry her fiancé, Keith Smith, several days before her murder.

After finding out about the arrest, Smith told NewsChannel 36, "I feel much better knowing that they found him. I spoke with her mom, and the family is ecstatic. They are very happy she actually said it's a huge burden lifted off her heart that they found him," said Smith.

NewsChannel 36 has learned the 911 dispatcher who took the call from Smith has been placed on administrative leave.  Supervisors say he incorrectly sent officers to a non-existent “Plum Biscuit” when the caller clearly said a possible robbery was taking place at the Flying Biscuit.

The 911 tape released to NewsChannel 36 sounds as if the caller, Smith, gave the wrong physical address, saying 3930 Rea road instead of 7930 Rea Road.

Communications supervisor, Captain Mike Campagna said in a news conference on Monday,

“I think we need to go back and see if the call taker followed all the policies and all the protocols and the practices of good call taking to make sure that we’re doing all that we need to do to make sure the right addresses are getting in so that we’re sending police officers to the right locations. That's our business, that's what we want to do right a hundred percent of the time,” said Campagna.

Cox could face two counts of murder, instead of one, under a new state law.

The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also called "Ethen's Law," went into effect December 1. Under the law, anyone causing the death of an unborn child, except in the case of abortion, can be charged with murder.

Someone who murders a pregnant woman can be charged with two counts of murder.  The law covers a woman in any stage of pregnancy, from conception, and an attacker doesn't need to know the woman was pregnant in order to be charged.

Funeral arrangements are set for Watson. A viewing is scheduled for Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at McLean Funeral home in Gastonia.  Her funeral will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at McLean Funeral home.

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