Court documents: ‘Stolen cellphone’ led to Willoe Watkins’ murder

Updated: Jul. 30, 2019 at 1:49 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Court documents show that a suspect in the murder of a Jefferson County woman said she was killed over a stolen cellphone.

The body of Marka “Willoe” Watkins was found in the bottom of a well on property in the 10-thousand block of Will Walker Lane in Tuscaloosa on Sunday.

Watkins was last seen in the Bessemer/McCalla area on June 17.

Kendal Tyler Battles, 29, and Joseph Brandon Nevels, 20, were charged with murder and abuse of a corpse on Monday.

Warrants have been obtained on a third suspect, 29-year-old Devon Trent Hall. He is currently in the Jefferson County Jail on unrelated charges.

He will be brought to Tuscaloosa County and served with warrants when released from Jefferson County. He will also be charged with murder and abuse of a corpse.

Police say a fourth suspect, Monic Battles, was also charged with murder. Monic is the wife of Kendal Battles.

In documents, investigators identified a witness who claimed four people were responsible for Watkins’ death.

That witness said they poured cement on top of Watkins after dumping her body down a well at a home on Will Walker Lane in Vance. Investigators found her body underneath what looked like fresh cement in the well.

Two of the people questioned by authorities denied knowing anything about what happened to Watkins. According to a charging and deposition sheet, Nevels told investigators Watkins stole his cellphone.

Nevels is accused of hitting her in the head with a shotgun. He says three other people then beat Watkins with their hands and feet and hit her with a bat.

Nevels said Hall strangled Watkins to death with a cord. Nevels claimed they put Watkins’ body in a car and drove to an unknown location, threw her body in the well and poured cement on top of her.

Authorities searched a home on Tanya Drive in Vance/McCalla area and found a baseball bat and some other items.

Investigators say more arrests are possible.

Kendal Tyler Battles and Joseph Brandon Nevels
Kendal Tyler Battles and Joseph Brandon Nevels(Tuscaloosa Co. Sheriff's Office)

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