Closing arguments start in Chunn murder trial

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

Attorneys delivered closing arguments Monday in the murder trial of a Roosevelt County farmer accused of hiring an Aryan Brotherhood member to kill local rancher Jimmie Bo Chunn.

By noon, the state and the defense for William “Billy Joe” Watson had spoken before Judge Drew Tatum called for a lunch break, after which the state could respond to the defense’s statements. The case would then be given to the jury.

Chunn was shot in his home July 4, 2005.

Prosecutor Donna Mowrer said Watson set up a verbal contract with Donald Taylor of Roosevelt County to kill Chunn in exchange for anhydrous ammonia, which would be used to manufacture the illegal drug, methamphetamine.

“Billy Joe Watson could have stopped everything, but he chose to go forward,” she said.

Mowrer said Watson’s statements throughout the investigation and during his testimony were inconsistent.

Defense attorney Gary Mitchell said the state didn’t dispute Watson’s reputation as honest, hard-working and helpful.

“And at the end of the day, Bo Chunn and Bill Watson were close friends,” he said.

Mitchell said Taylor has said he killed Chunn and lied about Watson being involved to extort the anhydrous ammonia from him.

Mitchell also said Watson cooperated with undercover agents posing as members of the Aryan Brotherhood in order to protect himself and his family.

He said local police and undercover agents unfairly intimidated Watson during the investigation and lied to advance their careers.

Mitchell also questioned the motives of some prosecution witnesses, noting they were paid informants or being threatened with heavy criminal sentences.