JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Cole County judge on Friday rejected a defense motion to exclude evidence in an upcoming murder trial.

James Addie, 54, was charged with first-degree murder in the April 18 shooting death of Molly Watson, 35, of Huntsville in a rural area of western Monroe County, near Middle Grove. Addie was employed as a senior corrections officer in Moberly, Mo., at the time of his arrest.

After an hourlong hearing that featured testimony from Missouri State Highway Patrol investigator Jason Krafton, Judge Jon Edward Beetem refused a request by Addie’s attorney, Thomas Kirsch, to throw out evidence of tire tracks that Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Talley Kendrick says proves Addie’s car was at the crime scene.

Krafton testified that he correctly identified a tire from a car registered to Addie as being present at the alleged murder cene, saying there were 11 match points.

In his court filing, Kirsch alleged that the tire track evidence is not objective and questioned the way it was collected by investigators.

“This evidence is so unreliable that its admission would further violate the defendant’s rights to due process and deprive him of the fair trial,” Kirsch wrote in his motion to suppress the tire tracks as evidence. “There is no objective standard, procedure, principle, or method for matching a cast of a tire track to a tire, yet the state of Missouri will seek to elicit that opinion evidence in this Court in an attempt to put a man behind bars for life without the possibility of parole.”

Kirsch said that Crafton used “a dental stone cast that was obstructed by debris, and a tire from the defendant’s car” the examination of whether Addie’s car was at the alleged crime scene.

“He knew the defendant was under arrest and that the officers who sent him the cast already determined, also without the benefit of the scientific method, the tire matched the cast,” Kirsch wrote in his motion. “Using no scientifically established standards, he determined there was ‘enough’ to say the defendant’s tire made the impression to the exclusion of all other tires. There is no scientific standard for what is ‘enough’ of a match and MSHP has no criteria for reaching this conclusion.”

In her response, Smith said that Crafton’s investigation was thorough, reliable and proves that Addie's car was at the scene of the alleged murder.

“With regard to the right rear tire of the defendant’s car, Mr. Crafton was able to compare both class characteristics and individual characteristics to the cast and observed all class characteristics from the cast corresponded with the right rear tire of the defendant’s car,” Kendrick wrote.

“Furthermore, Mr. Crafton observed 11 individual characteristics that corresponded between the cast of the impression from the crime scene and the right rear tire of the Defendant’s car. Based on these observations and his training and experience, Mr. Crafton formed the opinion that the right rear tire of the defendant’s car made the tire impression at the crime scene.”

In a probable cause affidavit, law enforcement investigators said that Addie, who was married at the time, was romantically involved with Watson and had kept that a secret from his wife.

Internet postings show that Addie and Watson planned an April 29, 2018, 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 and took impressions of the tracks.

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