JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. | A Cole County judge is considering a motion to reduce a $500,000 cash-only bond for a former Missouri Department of Corrections officer charged with first-degree murder in the death of his fiancée near Middle Grove more than two years ago.
James A. Addie, 53, was charged with first-degree murder by Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Talley Kendrick Smith in the April 28, 2018, death of Molly Watson, 35, of Huntsville, Mo. Addie was employed as a corrections officer at the time of his arrest, according to Missouri payroll records.
Earlier this month, Addie's attorney, T.J. Kirsch, said that Addie's $500,000 bond is excessive under the Missouri Constitution. Moreover, he said that a pretrial risk assessment found that Addie is not a threat.
“On March 17, 2020, Pre-Trail Services filed its Risk Assessment Report … indicating that not only does Mr. Addie maintain relationships with supportive family, has a verified home-plan, and was consistently employed before his arrest, also has no criminal history, and a risk assessment score of zero,” Kirsch said in his petition. “According to Pre-Trial Services, Mr. Addie is the first defendant with the lowest possible score.”
He said that members of Addie's family could post a $25,000 surety bond, requesting that bond be reduced or that Addie be released on his own recognizance.
In her response, Smith said that the Missouri Constitution does not allow bond for a person charged with first-degree murder.
“In addition to overwhelming evidence against the defendant, placing him at the scene of the murder, in contact with the victim up to minutes before her being shot point-blank in the back the head, and items found belonging to the defendant near the scene of the murder, this court has ruled admissible statements defendant attempted to exclude, which he made to others in jail, pertaining to his having killed the victim,” Smith said. “Therefore, for these reasons, the state asks the court to overrule the defendant's motion to reduce bond.”
Cole County Judge Jon E. Beetem took the request under advisement after a telephone conference hearing on May 21.
Addie was granted a change of venue July 30, 2018, for his case from Monroe County to Cole County. Beetem is assigned as the judge.
Addie's arrest on April 28, 2018, received widespread news coverage around Missouri. At the time of his arrest, state employment records showed that he was a supervising officer at the Moberly Corrections Center.
Law enforcement investigators said that Addie, who was married at the time, had romantic involvement with Watson that he kept secret from his wife.
Internet postings show that Addie and Watson planned an April 29 wedding at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Columbia. However, law enforcement officials said Addie was still married to his wife of 22 years. Police reported that Addie said he dated Watson for seven years but that his wife had no idea the two were involved.
"I got myself involved in something I shouldn't have," Addie is alleged to have said to investigators when he was questioned.
Watson's body was discovered near a creek bed about four miles east of Middle Grove in western Monroe County. At first, police suspected that Watson died due to blunt force trauma to the head, but a subsequent court filing by the prosecution reported the cause of death was a gunshot to the back of her head.
Police said Watson's body was discovered by an unnamed witness who encountered a man and vehicle near the creek. The witness allegedly had a conversation with a male near the creek bed. The witness was heading home but did not cross the creek. Instead, the witness told police he approached the creek from a different direction after having an "unusual conversation" with the man when he discovered Watson's body.
The witness called emergency services and reported the body and the vehicle he had previously encountered. Police said Watson's body was located on the ground in front of her vehicle. While investigating, police said they found tire tracks near Watson's body.
Missouri Highway Patrol investigators said they interviewed Addie at 2:45 a.m. on April 28 in the dining room of his home in Santa Fe, in southern Monroe County near the Audrain County line. Investigators said he admitted to a relationship with Watson and told them his wife was not aware of the relationship.
Investigators said that Addie granted them permission to search his garage and they found the tires on his 2000 Mercury Sable allegedly matched tracks at the crime scene.
Addie is scheduled for trial beginning with jury selection on Oct. 23 at 9 a.m. before Beetem in the 19th Judicial Circuit in Jefferson City.