By Traci Shurley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas
Jun. 21–FORT WORTH — To Rebecca Simpson, security guard Kevin Cash seemed like the right man to trust with her safety when they met at a Bridgeport gas station in October 2004, she testified Tuesday.
Dressed in black, Cash talked about spending time in the Army before starting a career in international security. Later, he showed off his semiautomatic rifle and bragged about “neutralizing threats” for the government, Simpson said.
Simpson wanted to take self-defense classes, but Cash had other ideas, she told jurors.
Choosing Cash to help her deal with harassment from her former lover Danny Watts and his wife, Shemane, is a move she said she sorely regrets.
“He told me he had a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” said Simpson, who was the wife of a prominent Wise County lawyer.
“He said I wasn’t going to get anything done talking to Danny and Shemane, that they were not the kind of people to mess with. … He said that they had connections.”
Simpson is on trial on a charge of solicitation of capital murder. She is accused of trying to hire an undercover Texas Department of Public Safety officer to kill Shemane Watts in October 2004. Her trial is in its second week. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Shemane Watts married Danny Watts in June 2003, about three years after Danny Watts and Simpson began an affair.
Danny Watts testified earlier that he and Simpson became lovers a few months after he began training her at his fitness club in Bridgeport and that the affair continued after his marriage.
On a videotape of an Oct. 28, 2004, meeting that was shown to jurors last week, Simpson gave the undercover officer $2,000 and asked him to slit Shemane Watts’ wrists and let her die. Simpson also tells the “hit man” to beat Danny Watts and make it look like a drug deal gone wrong.
Prosecutors Christy Jack and Kim D’Avignon have characterized Simpson as a controlling and vengeful woman who wanted Danny Watts to herself.
Cash testified last week that he reported a murder-for-hire plan hatched by Simpson to Bridgeport police as soon as he was certain of her intentions. He said he helped police set up the sting and got out of their way.
However, Simpson testified Tuesday that Cash was the one who brought up the idea of causing Shemane Watts’ death.
Simpson said she was desperate to protect herself against the Wattses when Cash approached her at the gas station Oct. 18, 2004. Earlier that month, she had gone to police about a confrontation Oct. 13 with Shemane Watts. She had also threatened to call the Wise County Sheriff’s Department about an inappropriate conversation that Danny Watts had had with her 16-year-old daughter, she said.
The Wattses were threatening to retaliate, and Shemane Watts had nearly run her down, she said.
She testified that on Oct. 20, 2004, Cash told her that “world-class operatives” carried out their activities against their targets on four levels, the first of which was harassment. Shortly before state District Judge Mike Thomas adjourned the trial for the day, Simpson said that’s all she agreed to pay him to do. The next day, Cash went to police.
Earlier Tuesday, Simpson’s attorney, Ray Bass, called his client’s 20-year-old son to the witness stand to talk about other troubles she faced in 2003 and 2004. Sean Simpson described a serious water-skiing accident his mother had in May 2003.
Traci Shurley, 817- 390-7757 [email protected]
Copyright (c) 2006, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.
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