Texas man pleads guilty to 1995 killing of California jogger

Crime & Public Safety

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Texas man who has spent much of his life in prison has pleaded guilty to the 1995 killing of a woman who was attacked as she jogged near the Sacramento River in California.

James Earl Watkins, 42, pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder and admitted allegations of robbery, kidnapping and lying in wait, the Shasta County district attorney’s office said in a statement.

He will be sentenced in August to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Last year, Watkins was linked to the June 24, 1995 killing of 37-year-old Christine Munro, a nurse and mother of four, through DNA analysis of scrapings from material found under her fingernails, authorities said.

“A convicted rapist falsely confessed to the crime in 1997, but there was insufficient evidence to prove he actually committed the crime” and the case went cold, the Redding Police Department said in a statement.

Watkins, who had once lived with relatives in Redding in California, was serving a 14-year prison sentence for robbery in Texas, where he had convictions for sexual assault, escape, burglary and bank robbery, authorities said.

“He has spent a significant portion of his life in prison,” the Redding Police Department statement said.

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