Man Pleads Not Guilty To First-Degree Murder

Advertisement

The man charged with killing Payson resident Roger Patrick Watson pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday morning in Gila County Superior Court in Payson.

Thomas Georgatos, 35, was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on 11 counts surrounding Watson's death -- first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, arson of an occupied structure, hindering prosecution in the first degree, abandonment or concealment of a dead body, tampering with physical evidence, misconduct involving weapons, possession of a dangerous drug and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.

photo

Thomas Georgatos, 35, leaves Gila County Superior Court Monday after pleading not guilty to 11 counts surrounding the death of Roger Patrick Watson.

Michael Bernays, the attorney representing Georgatos, entered a plea of not guilty on all charges and waived the first reading before Gila County Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill.

Deputy County Attorney Patti Wortman requested that the defendant be held without bail.

She also asked that Georgatos have his bail revoked for another case where he is accused of providing methamphetamines to three teenage girls. He pleaded not guilty to those charges as well on Monday.

Georgatos was released on his own recognizance after being charged with providing drugs to minors when he allegedly killed Watson.

Wortman said the state is asking that the defendant be held without bond in the alleged murder, due to the seriousness of the crime.

She added that Georgatos' bond should be revoked for providing drugs to a minor because he may have committed a felony while out on bail.

Bernays replied that there would have to be a separate evidentiary hearing to deal with this issue.

Wortman said she would agree to a hearing on whether to revoke the bail.

On the 11 charges, the grand jury set the bail amount at $1 million, though the state asked that he be held without bond.

Cahill said the case needs to move forward in a judicious manner.

"It's that type of case that needs to be handled aggressively," he said, before setting a case management conference for 1:30 p.m. April 30.

Two other defendants --William M. Sweatt and Scott Bernard McGeough -- entered not guilty pleas at their arraignments in Globe Monday on charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, arson of an occupied structure, hindering prosecution in the first degree, abandonment or concealment of a dead body and tampering with physical evidence.

County Attorney Daisy Flores said attorney John Brisson was appointed to be McGeough's attorney, and a hearing has been scheduled March 19 to determine if he will continue to represent his client.

Anna Ortiz was appointed to be Sweatt's lawyer, and his next hearing is scheduled for June 11.

Wortman said at the Georgatos arraignment in Payson that the state has not decided if the death penalty will be sought. This decision must be reached within 60 days of the arraignment.

The Gila County Sheriff's Office on Friday confirmed through dental records that the body, found in the trunk of a burning car on Cracker Jack Mine Road Feb. 20, was Watson.

During the autopsy, a bullet was found in the torso area of the body, though the exact cause of death has yet to be determined.

See related story:

Suspects appear before grand jury Wednesday (March 9, 2007))

Commenting has been disabled for this item.