TUCSON - David Watson, a former Tucson Fire Captain, is now serving two life sentences and an additional 16 years for killing his ex-wife Linda, her mother Marilyn Cox and the mother's friend Renee Farnsworth.
Dateline NBC is airing a two hour special on the case that prompted two trials: A hung jury last fall. A conviction in the second trial two months ago.
David Watson was convicted of the three murders, but he maintains his innocence.
His friends stand behind him, while the families of Linda, Marilyn,and Renee told News 4 Tucson, they finally got justice after 17 years.
David Watson spoke at length to Dateline's Dennis Murphy. This is the only on camera interview Watson did before going to prison.
Hear directly from Watson about what he thought about Linda and his reaction when she went missing in August of 2000.
Watson said, “I mean i always cared for her, don't get me wrong. You know, you know, i was in love with her. You know, my first wife, i had planned on staying married forever, you know? That was the deal. But it just didn't turn out that way. But as far as, you know, in love or, you know, loving her, you know, I was no longer in love, but I still loved her. She's the mother of my child.”
At the center of it all their only daughter Jordynn.
She was only four when her mother disappeared in August of 2000.
Dennis Murphy: When did you know that something had gone wrong at Linda's place?
David Watson: The following morning, sometime in that morning, late morning, mid-morning Marilyn gives me a call and says that Linda's not home, she's missing. And....
Dennis Murphy: What did you make of that?
David Watson: I just well, because Linda told me before you know, before I met her that she would take off for three days, going to California and not tell anybody, and you know, and there were times when I was trying to get a hold of her and could never get a hold her.
Dennis Murphy: So why is Marilyn so concerned? What is it she seeing?
David Watson: Exactly. I have no idea. She already told me....
Dennis Murphy: Is she coming on angry to you at that point?
David Watson: Not angry, you know. Just frantic. She sounded panicked, and it was like, you know, give it some time, it's Monday morning. Maybe she went somewhere."
Flyers went out with Linda Watson's picture.
In October of 2003 a skull was found in the desert near the Silverbell mine area.
Also that year, Marilyn Cox and her neighbor Renee Farnsworth were shot and killed in Marlyn's driveway. She had just returned from spending the day with her granddaughter, Jordynn . She was in a legal fight with her former son in law over visitation rights.
Dennis Murphy: Did you feel bad about Marilyn?
David Watson: Oh heck yeah. I mean, yeah. I mean how could I not? This is Jordynn's grandmother, you know? And.....
Dennis Murphy: And the poor friend, lady from next door, what can you say other than, "Wrong place, wrong time"?
David Watson: Well, and that's just tragic too. I mean, you know, she, I can't speak for her family and how they must feel, and still feel, you know? That's a huge loss on both parts, you know.
In 2011 thru DNA, the skull that had been found eight years earlier was identified as Linda Watson.
David Watson was arrested in 2015 for the three murders.
Dateline NBC "Secrets of the desert" airs Friday at 8:00 p.m.
On Friday at 6 p.m. you hear from Rosemary Watson, David's second ex wife. She said she kept a dark secret for many years.