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Cold Case: Halley Watson and Terry Pahl


If you have a tip, call the SDPD Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293. For anonymous tips, call Crimestoppers at 888-580-8477 or submit your tip online.

Halley "Butch" Watson

December 3, 1978

3519 30th Street/2101 Fern Street


At about 2 a.m. on December 3, 1978 Terry Pahl, 21, went to wash and dry his clothes at an all-night coin laundromat at 3519 30th Street. The laundromat was in an isolated residential-business area and Pahl went alone. About an hour later, the laundromat's owner stopped by on a routine check of his business and found Pahl's body face down on the floor at the rear of the laundromat. Pahl had been shot twice in the back of the head at close range. Responding police officers discovered Pahl's wallet and keys were missing, as well as his vehicle a blue 1975 Chevrolet pick-up truck (pictured below).

At about 1:00 a.m. the following morning, December 4, 1978, a customer walked into the 7-11 Store at 2101 Fern Street in South Park discovered the store clerk, 24-year-old Halley "Butch" Watson (pictured), lying dead on the floor behind the counter. Watson had been killed by a single gunshot wound to the head fired from close range, and the cash register had been emptied. The suspect may have gotten away with $39.

The Laundromat and the 7-11 store were on the same street about 14 blocks apart, and the murders both occurred at about the same time of morning, one day apart. Ballistics tests showed that both Pahl and Watson were killed with the same gun, a .22 revolver. There was no evidence of resistance by either victim.

Pahl's truck was recovered the day after Watson's murder, abandoned and disabled on southbound I-5 at Main Street. The suspect(s) remain at large.

Butch Watson was an accomplished skateboarder and engaged to be married. Pahl was in the U.S. Navy and enjoyed playing pool.

Southland Corporation has offered a $5000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects in the murder of Halley "Butch" Watson Junior.