Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cold case solved: Man sentenced to life for 1987 rape, murder of Polk woman

Carl Junior McCauley was indicted in 2015 in the March 24, 1987, killing of a 41-year-old mother of three at her Lake Alfred home. [Polk County Sheriff's Office]

Carl Junior McCauley was indicted in 2015 in the March 24, 1987, killing of a 41-year-old mother of three at her Lake Alfred home. [Polk County Sheriff's Office]

A 67-year-old man was sentenced Thursday to life in prison after he was found guilty in the rape and murder of a Polk County woman 30 years ago.

Carl Junior McCauley was indicted in 2015 in the March 24, 1987, killing of 41-year-old Karen Ann Watson at her Lake Alfred home.

Watson, a mother of three, died from multiple stab wounds. Her body was found by her husband, Charles, when he returned home from running a business errand. Evidence showed she had sex shortly before her death, investigators said.

Polk County detectives developed McCauley as a suspect in 2014 while investigating Watson's death as a cold case and matched his DNA to the crime scene. Investigators located McCauley living in Sandusky. Ohio, and he was extradited to Florida.

RELATED: Suspect in 1987 slaying extradited to Polk County.

McCauley testified that he had sex with Watson at the home, but she was alive when he left.

Defense attorneys claimed Watson's husband, who died in 2014, killed her after discovering the affair. Prosecutors said the husband was about 20 miles away at the time of the killing, and DNA testing later cleared him.

McCauley's conviction concluded a two-week trial in Bartow. He was sentenced after the jury's decision, according to the office of Polk-Highlands-Hardee State Attorney Brian Haas.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Cold case solved: Man sentenced to life for 1987 rape, murder of Polk woman 02/16/17 [Last modified: Thursday, February 16, 2017 6:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Times Staff.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over "inappropriate conduct"

    College

    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels' overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. World's plastic waste could bury Manhattan 2 miles deep

    Environment

    WASHINGTON — Industry has made more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and there's enough left over to bury Manhattan under more than 2 miles of trash, according to a new cradle-to-grave global study.

    Plastic trash is compacted into bales ready for further processing at the waste processing dump on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus.
  4. Sen. John McCain's type of cancer did not slow Tampa woman

    Health

    TAMPA — When 35-year-old Beth Caldwell heard about Sen. John McCain's brain tumor this week, she hoped he would stay positive.

    That's what helped her, she said.

    Throughout her battle with brain cancer, Beth Caldwell, 35, keeps her sons Gavin, 10, and Triston, 7, on her mind.
  5. A week later, the lengthy, costly rebuilding plan for the Pasco sinkhole begins

    Public Safety

    LAND O'LAKES — A week after a massive sinkhole opened in Pasco County, county officials have begun planning the long-term cleanup, which could take months and millions of dollars.

    A sinkhole in Land O'Lakes, Fla., is seen Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The sinkhole ?‘ already one of the largest in Pasco County in decades ?‘ measures about 235 feet in width and 50 feet in depth, with the potential to expand further.