Reporting Mike Campbell
ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – Police say DNA evidence ties a couple with a criminal past to the brutal murder of an elderly Royal Oak woman.
Tonia Watson, 40, and 48-year-old Alan Wood were back in court on Friday, bound for a preliminary hearing.
Each has been charged with first degree murder in the robbery and death of 80-year-old Nancy Dailey in her home after prosecutors say she hired them to do some yard work.
Wood’s defense attorney Elias Escobeda said he can’t believe prosecutors are going ahead with this case without any proof
“There were some … I don’t know, 60, 70, possibly 80 items of evidence. Not one item of evidence from this crime scene was identified or traceable to my client,” Escobeda said.
On the contrary, a Michigan State Police Crime Lab supervisor said that there is a likely match between DNA found on a scarf used to bind the victim’s arms, and DNA found in fingernail clippings from Wood, and DNA on Wood’s belt buckle.
Mathew Drinkard, whose wife is Dailey’s niece, said he thinks the prosecutors have done their homework.
“I think they’ve laid out a pretty good case. And, once you look through that timeline, to me it pretty much nails everything down,” he said.
Drinkard said it was “surreal” sitting in the courtroom, looking at the suspects and thinking, “Those are her killers.”
Dailey was found bound to a chair with her throat slit last November.
It was a crime that stirred fear and uncertainty in a community where many had felt safe, prompting a call for a “No Knock” list that would prevent strangers from coming to residents’ doors looking for work. (More on this here).
Both Watson and Wood, who have prior criminal convictions, were on parole and were suspected of committing new crimes ahead of the slaying in Royal Oak. Some have questioned why they were free.