Alleged Cop Killer Charged with Bribing Tuscaloosa Jail Officer
Luther Bernard Watkins, the man accused of fatally shooting Tuscaloosa Police Investigator Dornell Cousette in September 2019, is facing new charges after he allegedly attempted to bribe an officer at the Tuscaloosa County Jail last weekend.
Watkins, 21, was charged with capital murder after Cousette was fatally shot while attempting to serve a warrant, and he has been held in the Tuscaloosa County Jail without bond since shortly after the killing.
According to court documents filed Wednesday, Watkins slipped a note to a deputy working in the jail last Saturday and told him not to read it while anyone else was around.
The deputy put the note in his pocket and continued carrying out his duties, and near the end of his shift he reportedly remembered the note and read it.
In the note, Watkins allegedly asked the deputy to bring him "some paper" in exchange for $700 cash.
Despite its innocent-sounding name, according to the deposition, Watkins was actually asking for paper that had been dipped in synthetic marijuana oil. Inmates allegedly receive this treated paper in their mail or from visitors and smoke with it to get high even while they're jailed.
The deputy who received the note immediately alerted three sergeants at the jail, who obtained a warrant and charged Watkins with bribery of a public servant on Tuesday.
The Class C felony is a serious charge, but it may prove to be of little consequence for Watkins. If he is convicted of capital murder for the death of Investigator Cousette, he will either be sentenced to death or to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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