ROYAL OAK (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Department of Corrections says two parole agents have been suspended as officials investigate why two ex-convicts now charged with killing an 80-year-old Royal Oak woman were on the streets in the first place.

The agents supervising Alan Wood, 48, and Tonia Watson, 40, passed up numerous opportunities last year to return the pair to prison, the Detroit Free Press reported. The newspaper cited a review of records in cases involving Wood and Watson that indicated they were suspected of committing new crimes ahead of the slaying in Royal Oak.

Wood and Watson are charged with murder in the Nov. 20 death of Nancy Dailey, who was found bound to a chair in her house with her throat slashed.

Wood and Watson, who both have lengthy criminal histories, are being held pending the resumption of a preliminary hearing March 16. They face automatic life in prison without parole if convicted as charged.

MDOC spokesman John Cordell said that an internal investigation is under way to determine whether any work rules or department policies were violated regarding the supervision of Wood and Watson. He confirmed that the two employees were suspended with pay.

Other disciplinary action could follow, he said, and steps have been taken to better target parole violators and parole absconders.

The department said in an email it “was deeply saddened and outraged at the brutal, senseless murder.” The MDOC said: “It was a tragic event beyond measure. And the fact that offenders under our supervision have been charged with the murder troubles us greatly.”

A month before the Nov. 20 slaying, corrections officials cited Wood for three parole violations, but then turned him loose, the newspaper reported. Records also show agents knew Wood and Watson were suspects in the thefts of a gun from a Berkley home and credit cards from a Royal Oak home.

Police have said Dailey was beaten to force her to disclose her bank card PIN. Royal Oak Detective Carl Baretto detailed in court what  Watson told him about the crime.

“… Watson then stated that Wood left Dailey crying in pain on the floor – Watson stated that Wood pulled out and unfolded his knife and told her, “you know what I have to do.” Watson said she knew that Wood was going to kill Nancy Daily because she would be able to identfy them. Watson then said that Wood used his knife to cut Nancy Daily’s throat and stab her in the neck,” Baretto read in court.

Wood and Watson were arrested two days after the killing at a Meijer store in Wayne County’s Canton Township. They were planning to leave the state that day, police said.

Records show Wood’s past convictions included home invasion, while Watson’s convictions included gun charges and stolen property crimes. Both were paroled in 2010.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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