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Watson in court to face 2003 rape charge

By Staff
Serving 33-year sentence for a separate conviction
By NIKIE MAYO
News Editor
A Chocowinity man accused of a pair of July 2003 rapes and convicted of one of them returned to court Monday to face charges in the second case.
Dock Watson, 32, is already serving a 33-year prison sentence after being convicted of raping a Chocowinity Middle School employee. This week, he faces charges of first-degree rape and robbery with a dangerous weapon for an incident that occurred during the same time frame four years ago.
Watson stands accused of raping and robbing an employee of a downtown Washington business at gunpoint on July 11, 2003. Jury selection for that case began at the Beaufort County Courthouse Monday, but was halted when Watson’s attorney, Maynard Harrell, made a motion to strike the panel because there weren’t enough black people in the jury pool.
After hearing Harrell’s motion, Superior Court Judge Alma Hinton ordered the court recessed from noon to 2 p.m. so deputies with Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office could go out and find the residents who had been called for jury duty, but had not shown up.
By the end of the day Monday, a jury was seated. That jury includes one black man.
During recess, Edwards said the alleged victim of the downtown case was prepared to go forward.
Edwards said the second rape case against Watson had not reached its priority status until recently “due to the amount of time he received in the first case.”
Testimony begins today and the victim will likely be the first witness to take the stand, Edwards said.
Watson has been serving his prison term in Scotland Correctional Institution, according to the state Department of Correction Web site. The high-security facility is in Laurinburg.
Watson was first sent to Central Prison in Raleigh on April 19, 2005, the day after being convicted in the first rape case. In September 2004, a jury deadlocked 10-2, with the majority favoring a guilty verdict for Watson. That deadlock resulted in a mistrial. In April 2005, Watson was tried and convicted.