Slain Connellsville teen’s brother ‘just knew it was Joe’
Tom Watson believed he knew who killed his little brother, John David.
For 40 years, he never gave up hope that he and his family would see justice, he said Thursday, a day after Joseph E. Leos of Mt. Pleasant was arrested on murder charges.
On the night of May 2, 1974, 14-year-old John Watson was killed by a single gunshot in the back of the head, police said.
Tom Watson, who now lives in West Virginia, said he and others searched for John through the night. It was Tom who found his brother’s body about 6 a.m. the next morning, lying in a yard along Kirk Street in Dunbar Township.
Tom Watson, 24 at the time, told police that he hugged his brother’s body and found it was dry after a rainy night. He saw drag marks that ran 50 feet from the home of Leos’ grandmother to the body.
“That morning of his death, he (Leos) was standing there, and the things he said made me think he did it,” Watson said.
He lunged at Leos, then 17, and police pulled him off.
“I just knew it was Joe,” Watson said.
Since the murder, Watson said, he has kept in contact with investigators. Last week, police told him to hold on — they were close to an arrest.
Shortly after Leos was taken into custody Wednesday, Watson got that call.
“(John) can rest in peace, and now we have our chance in court,” he said. “I talked with the district attorney. It’s in their ballpark now.”
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.