The Prolific Murders and Marriages of James P Watson

He married more women in a decade than he can recall and murdered most of them

Heather Monroe
12 min readJan 8, 2021


California, U.S., Prison and Correctional Records, 1851–1950 for James P Watson, Public Domain Image, Edits Mine

Katheryn Wombacher was a successful seamstress from Iowa. She was attractive, business savvy, and carved out a reasonably happy life for herself. At 45-years-old, Kathryn dreamed of a future with a good husband. That’s when she met Walter Andrew.

Walter wasn’t conventionally handsome, but he had a smooth charm that Kathryn couldn’t resist. He said work for a trust company in Canada and that he made good money. The whirlwind romance lasted a few weeks, during which Walter begged her to marry him. The company he worked for transferred him to Los Angeles, and he promised to provide for her if she’d become his wife. It didn’t take much coaxing before Walter and Kathryn eloped to Seattle on November 8, 1919.

As promised, Walter moved Kathryn to Los Angeles. Mr. and Mrs. Andrew made their home in a quaint East Hollywood apartment on North Heliotrope Drive and Rosewood Avenue.

A few weeks after their arrival, Walter told his wife he needed to leave for a business trip. One business trip wasn’t so unusual, but Kathryn became suspicious as these trips became longer and more frequent.

She tried to brush off her uneasiness. She was just paranoid, right? Then, Walter began hinting that he’d like to rob a jewelry store in Los Angeles. Kathryn demanded he stopped talking about such things. He did, but her intuitions grew stronger as her husband’s behavior became stranger.

On an excursion to Catalina Island, the couple went on a romantic nature walk. When Walter lagged a few paces behind, she noticed he picked up a large rock. When another couple disrupted their solitude, he set the stone down.

Back at home, Walter kept a locked briefcase in the corner of the living room. When he left, he took it with him, key and all. Kathryn asked her husband what was in it, and claimed it was paperwork related to his job.

His job became a point of contention in the relationship. He claimed he made good money but never gave Kathryn any. Even when he went away for weeks at a time, she needed to support herself. Furthermore, he no longer claimed to work for a…



Heather Monroe

Welcome readers! Heather Monroe is a genealogist and writer who resides in California with her partner and their nine children. •True Crime• History• Memoir•