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Police: Witness says teen responsible for Shay Watson killing

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DANE COUNTY (WKOW) -- Fitchburg Police say a witness to the August killing of Verona High School student Shay Watson implicated a 15-year-old boy as the alleged shooter.

The teen was charged as an adult Monday with first-degree-intentional homicide with the use of a dangerous weapon, and with attempted armed robbery. During a Dane County Court hearing, the teen's bail was set at $500,000.

A criminal complaint states the teen denied being at the Fitchburg crime scene when interviewed by police one month after the shooting.

But the complaint says earlier this month, someone arrested in Illinois told Fitchburg detectives he went with the teen to Watson's home in August and described a drug deal gone wrong, with the teen shooting Watson as the teenager tried to steal marijuana from Watson.

Authorities say that 17-year-old Watson was shot in the back of head.

A criminal complaint states one day after Watson's killing, the teen suspect posted video to Snapchat of himself rapping to a song. "The lyrics of the song appear to be referencing shooting someone in the head," the complaint says.

Authorities say a handgun was seized from the Verona home of the family of the teen suspect during a search last week. A 40-year old man was also arrested unrelated to Watson's homicide.

"Police located over $35,000 in cash in the defendant's residence as well as marijuana that was packaged for sale," says Assistant Dane County District Attorney Rachel Kibbe.

Court records say the witness was interviewed May 4 after being booked into the LaSalle County, Illinois jail following a high speed chase. The complaint states the witness says Watson was shot by the teen in the garage of Watson's home. Records say an SUV driven by the witness was seen on traffic camera video in the area of Watson's home on the day of the killing.

Kibbe also insisted the 15-year old's bail specifically prohibit any witness tampering.

"There's evidence linking this defendant to gangs," Kibbe says. "We believe it's necessary to prevent intimidation of witnesses."

During Monday's court hearing, Kibbe said the gang evidence is connected to the teen suspect's juvenile record, but no specific information from the record was shared.

Watson's mother, Colleen Ryan told 27 News she was aware of law enforcement suspicion about the teen from the beginning of the investigation into her son's death. She praised the diligence of investigators and expressed empathy for the mother of the teenage suspect.

Court records say the witness was charged with drug crimes in Dane County last year. He is only identified by initials. Authorities have made no comment on whether the witness faces any possible crimes in connection to the killing.

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Tony Galli

Reporter, WKOW

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