41ºF

Estranged husband charged with murder after couple found shot to death at Detroit home

Police searched for victim's children Monday

Robert Watts, 36, at his arraignment for the fatal shooting of his estranged wife in Detroit. (WDIV)
Robert Watts, 36, at his arraignment for the fatal shooting of his estranged wife in Detroit. (WDIV)

DETROIT – An estranged husband was charged Thursday in connection with the fatal shooting of  his wife and her friend at a home on Detroit's east side.

Robert Bryant Watts, 36, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and felony firearms violations. He was taken into custody at a relative's house in Redford, near Breakfast Drive and Minock Circle.

Read more: Police find 3 children safe after 2 people found shot to death on Detroit's east side

Police said Tarance Smith, 35, visited his girlfriend, Theresa Janay Watts, 36, Sunday at a home in the 9200 block of McKinney Street. 

Police said Robert Watts went to the home Sunday at about 5 p.m. and demanded to see his two girls and one boy. 

When his demand was denied, authorities allege Robert Watts pulled out a handgun and shot his wife while their children were present.

Police said Robert Watts forced his children into the bathroom and then shot Smith while he was seated in the kitchen.

After no one could get hold of the Theresa Watts or Smith and neither showed up for New Year's Eve celebrations, police were called and found the couple dead at the home.

Both victims were shot in the head, police said. Smith's brother, Andrew Brown, said that the estranged husband had a problem with the victims' relationship.

"Two time Tarance has been at the house and both times this man came over here and said something to my brother. My brother played it off," he said.

Police were searching for the children Monday. They were located with a family member.


About the Authors: