For 7 Years, He Led a Double Life. Then He Became a Killer

Missouri man James Addie murdered his fiancee 2 days before wedding
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2022 9:40 AM CST
Updated Jan 9, 2022 4:45 PM CST

Two days before Missouri man James Addie was due to become a bigamist, he became a murderer instead. The prison officer's double life was exposed after the body of fiancee Molly Watson was found on a backroad on April 27, 2018. The 35-year-old, who was still wearing her engagement rings, had been shot in the back of the head. Relatives said Watson dated Addie—a coworker at Moberly Area Correctional Center who was 16 years his junior—for seven years before he proposed to her. He told her he had divorced Melanie Addie and she had later been in a car crash. James Addie claimed she died after she was taken off life support.

But when police launched an investigation, they discovered that not only was Melanie Addie still alive, she had been living with James Addie and their daughter the entire time Addie had been seeing Watson. The case will be profiled on ABC's 20/20 Friday night. Melanie Addie tells the show that she had no idea her then-husband was involved with Watson until police showed up at her door the night of the murder. She is now divorced from Addie for real. She testified against him at his trial in July last year, where he was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 10 years. She tells 20/20 that Addie could be "controlling and intimidating" and the murder "just seemed like something he would do to fix a problem."

Relatives say Watson, who had a child from a previous marriage, was excited about the planned Disney-themed wedding but that Addie, who dropped off decorations the day of the murder, seemed unenthusiastic—and avoided planning meetings, saying he had to deal with funeral arrangements instead. During closing arguments in Addie's trial last year, Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Talley Smith said Addie's wife and fiancee were completely unaware of each other, the Herald-Whig reports. Smith called him a "coward" who "strung Molly Watson along until the very last day" and "threw her away like a piece of garbage." (More murder stories.)

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