CHARLOTTE, N.C. - "Sometimes, it seems like it happened yesterday," says Keith Smith. It has been four months since his fiance, Danielle Watson, was stabbed to death at The Flying Biscuit in Ballantyne.
The 25-year-old was two months pregnant. One week from her wedding. And Thursday, just days past what would have been her 26th birthday, Watson's family and fiance learned that the man accused of killing her, 22-year-old Mark Cox, will face the death penalty if convicted.
"I was excited, relieved at the same time, that's what they decided to do, that's what we wanted them to do and we're satisfied with it, definitely." Smith says attorneys have told him the case will go to trial in several months. He is confident a jury will have no trouble convicting Cox.
"Me personally, it just seems like the evidence is cut and dry," Smith says. The search warrant suggests officers found a blood trail leading into Cox's apartment, blood on the front door, blood on the kitchen counter as well as a butcher knife. Police also say Cox confessed to his sister that he killed Watson and dumped her body.
Cox, who got out of prison in November, also faces a murder charge for Watson's unborn baby. Prosecutors say this is the first case using North Carolina's new Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
On paper, Smith says it feels like justice is working. In real life, none of it provides a sense of closure. He says, "No matter what happens, no matter what the outcome is, she doesn't back, our child doesn't come back. What we lost, we will never get back."
We called The Flying Biscuit's corporate headquarters in Atlanta Thursday to ask if they've changed their policies on hiring convicted criminals but the voice mailbox was full. Smith says the company has not contacted him.