Case against Lexington murder suspect heading to grand jury

Case against Lexington murder suspect heading to grand jury
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 11:54 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The case against the suspect in a Lexington murder is going to the grand jury.

Stewart Watson is accused of shooting and killing 16-year-old Michael Stinnett along a bike path near Summerhill Drive on May 5.

Watson was in court Wednesday morning. Lexington homicide detective Josh Phillips gave police’s account of Stinnett’s murder based on three witness interviews.

Det. Phillips says Stinnett and Watson were both in their own groups when Stinnett’s group left a convenience store and went onto Squires Road Trail, which leads to Summerhill Drive.

Phillips says Watson’s group then started to follow them. He says Watson went up to Stinnett while wearing a black ski mask.

“After a few minutes, Stewart Watson and his friends asked to see Michael Stinnett’s handgun,” said Det. Phillips.

After several more minutes, witnesses say Watson then pulled out his own gun, put it on Stinnett’s chest and tried to forcefully take Stinnett’s weapon. That’s when the shots rang out.

“Mr. Stinnett was able to bend down, and he tried to retrieve his own gun, at which point Mr. Watson fired a shot that entered into Mr. Stinnett’s chest,” said Det. Phillips.

Stinnett returned fire as he fell to the ground, but then died at the scene.

Phillips said Watson also robbed someone at Berryhill Park moments prior to the shooting, but Watson has not yet been charged for that.

Because of that police testimony, the judge determined the case will be going before a grand jury.

Watson remains in Fayette County Detention Center on a $1 million bond.

Watson is also facing several other charges including drug possession, reckless driving, and fleeing and evading. Police say those all come from separate incidents in September 2022 and March 2023.