Watkins was arrested and charged with murder before police found the teens’ bodies. On Tuesday afternoon, jurors heard about the shallow grave in which Jackson, the first to be discovered, was buried.
Jackson’s body was found in late February buried on the bank of a retention pond near 34th Street and Shadeland Avenue. The discovery came nearly two months to the day after he and Williams disappeared.
Marion County deputy coroner Sharon Joann Wright testified about being called late in her shift to a clandestine grave on the east side of Indianapolis. Because of the location, and her previous experience with the case, Wright said she thought the grave could potentially contain one, or both, of the missing boys.
She arrived to find a macabre sight – and confirmation of her suspicions.
“I walked back by a path through some trees. You could see an arm, part of a torso and a face that was partially uncovered,” Wright said.
IMPD homicide Det. Daniel Kepler, the lead detective on the case, was called to identify the body. Wright said exposure to the elements and “animal activity” had left the remains in poor condition.
Jurors were shown a series of photographs depicting the careful excavation of Jackson’s body. Deputy Prosecutor Mark Hollingsworth said he felt it was important they see those images.
“It shows, first of all, the effort the defendant had to go to to bury the victim,” Hollingsworth said. “And that the coroner’s office did a very meticulous job excavating the bodies, to show that any injuries on the body would be injuries that occurred pre-burial.”
Coroners excavated a layer below where Jackson’s body was found, but did not locate Williams. He wouldn’t be found until more than a month later – when his remains were discovered in Shelby County.
A search of the nearby retention pond did, however, turn up the tactical tomahawk investigators believe Watkins used to kill both teens.
Crime scene investigator Christine Hogan told jurors the tomahawk was located by Indianapolis Fire Department divers in 10 feet of water approximately 20 feet from the shore.
Investigators recovered an SOG Tactical Tomahawk -- nearly identical to this one -- in a retention pond on Indy's east side. Jurors today saw that tomahawk. Investigators believe it was the weapon Kevin Watkins used to murder two teens on Christmas Eve 2015. pic.twitter.com/FuxfpRCN75
Hollingsworth told Judge Grant Hawkins that the state expected to rest its case on Wednesday. Before that, though, jurors were scheduled to hear about the discovery of Williams body, and about a forensic pathologist’s analysis of the teens’ injuries.
Day three of the trial was scheduled to begin with a conference between attorneys over objections by the defense to certain photos prosecutors intend to enter as evidence in the case. Jurors were told to report back to the court by 9 a.m.