Fort Mill Times

Phillip Watts pleads guilty but mentally ill for shootings

The Rock Hill man police said shot a former Fort Mill mayor and a clerk during a gas station robbery pleaded guilty but mentally ill today to charges in connection to a double shooting at John Boy's Valero in Fort Mill.

Phillip Fleming Watts Jr., 21, also pleaded guilty for his role in the 2008 Valentine's Day double shooting of Rock Hill's Ida Lord as she waited in the lobby of Cash on the Spot.

For those shootings, Watts was given multiple life sentences and will spend the rest of his life in jail.

"After seeing a lady struggling to get up to the front, my heart goes out to her," said Watts' father, Phillip Watts Sr. of Lord. "I'm grateful that no one died and he didn't die. I can visit him in jail."

Watts' mother, Valerie Dunham declined to comment.

Watts is already serving a life sentence for a shooting at the Saltwater Seafood Co. in Rock Hill.

Police say Watts' crime spree began in October 2007 and ended Feb. 14, 2008, after an attempted armed robbery and shooting at Cash on the Spot on Cherry Road.

Over a 17-day period, police say, Watts robbed three businesses, where he shot two clerks and two customers. After Watts was arrested at a Rock Hill condominium Feb. 18, police say he confessed to seven robberies.

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