GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) - A man accused of killing the suburban Denver attorney whose body was found by a cleaning crew in her office was indicted Monday on charges including murder and sexual assault.
Warren Watson, 52, also faces charges of aggravated robbery, identity theft, aggravated motor vehicle theft, evidence tampering and escape stemming from the death of lawyer Claudia Miller, who was found dead March 5 in a file storage room at her Lakewood workplace.
Watson had an appointment to meet Miller for the first time the day her body was discovered, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office said. Watson arrived late, however, and showed up after Miller’s secretary had left for the day, prosecutors said.
He admitted to detectives that he threatened Miller with a fake gun, tied her up, strangled her and fondled her, according to the indictment. A forensic pathologist determined the primary cause of Miller’s death was strangulation, the indictment said.
The grand jury also accused Watson of striking Miller, stealing her purse, taking her vehicle and using her credit cards.
Watson was being held without bond Monday. Online inmate records don’t indicate his lawyer’s name.
Shortly after Miller’s death, Lakewood police released surveillance video images that they said showed a man using her credit cards at two stores. A woman who recognized the man as Watson called police and said she had stayed with him at a Denver hotel, according to the indictment.
At the time, Watson was on parole and was prohibited from staying anywhere other than his home at Second Chance Ministries in Denver without authorization, the indictment said. He also was not allowed to leave the state, the indictment said.
Second Chance Ministries said no one was immediately available to comment Monday afternoon.
Watson was arrested March 8 in Caldwell, Idaho, on a parole violation.
By then, investigators tracking Miller’s phone had found it in a trash bin in an alley inside a trash bag that also contained Miller’s purse and her ID, the indictment said. Surveillance video showed Watson putting a trash bag in the bin, the indictment said.
A murder conviction such as Watson faces can lead to the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)