Some charges dropped in family murder case

Statute of limitations up; they were arrested after 3 years

Some secondary charges in the Careaga family murder case have been dropped after the defense argued they were filed past the state’s statute of limitations.

The charges of first-degree murder and arson remain for 51-year-old Robert James Watson, his 50-year-old brother Johnny James Watson and 44-year-old Danie Jay Kelly for their alleged involvements in the 2017 murders of four Careaga family members.

All three have maintained not-guilty pleas to all charges. The trial is set to begin in September.

Charges of kidnapping, assault, burglary and conspiracy to commit murder, all in the first-degree, were dropped as they were filed more than three years after the crimes.

The trio of men were arrested in June of 2022, about 5 1/2 years after the brutal murders of Seabeck couple John Derek Careaga and Christale Lynn Careaga and two teens, Hunter Evan Schaap and Johnathon Felipe Higgins. The arrests came after that three-year statute of limitations.

Court documents filed July 6 reflected the reduction from the initial 16 charges down to 10, a charge of attempted murder being added in the prosecution’s response to the changes.