Death penalty off the table for James Dunmore, man accused of killing Allisha Watts

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Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Death penalty off the table for James Dunmore in Allisha Watts case
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Allisha Watts' accused killer, James Dunmore, appeared in court Wednesday for a death penalty hearing.

TROY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The man accused of killing a Moore County woman will not face the death penalty when his case goes to trial.

James Dunmore is accused of killing his girlfriend, Allisha Watts, in July and then burying her body.

On Wednesday, Dunmore was in court for a routine death penalty hearing. Prosecutors told the judge the state did not intend to seek the death penalty against Dunmore.

Prosecutors only presented cellphone evidence in court when revealing they would not seek the death penalty in the case.

"I had hoped there would have been more evidence today that would make it more possible or imperative that the death penalty be sought," Watts' mentor Dorothy Brower said.

Dunmore has a criminal history including violence against women, according to prosecutors.

"Who knows what he's going to do?" Watts' family member said. "That's why we wanted him to stay in (jail), so other women won't be scared to go home at night or have to deal with a predator on the street. It would have been one less predator. But now, if he makes bond ... he will be released on house arrest."

Dunmore's attorney detailed some of Dunmore's financial situation in an attempt to get him a lower bond amount.

The judge determined Dunmore would be held on a $1 million bond. If he makes bail, he will be under house arrest and electronic monitoring; he would also only be allowed to leave his home for work or medical reasons.

Officials have not yet released Watts' official cause of death. Her remains were found about a month later at a cemetery near the Montgomery County line after weeks of frantic searching and pleading for answers from her family.

SEE ALSO | 'She did nothing to deserve this': Heartbreak for family of Allisha Watts as worst fears realized

The family of Allisha Watts and her Southern Pines community prayed relentlessly for a safe return. Sadly, that didn't happen.

Court documents show the murder happened in mid-July on the day Watts vanished.