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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN ON: Ex-Convict Supplied Drugs To Teen Who Died
Title:CN ON: Ex-Convict Supplied Drugs To Teen Who Died
Published On:2001-07-04
Source:The Cambridge Reporter
Fetched On:2008-01-25 15:10:15

A one-time Hamilton criminal jailed for hog-tying a teenage girl during a
drug binge 12 years ago says he supplied another girl with prescription
drugs before she died at his Puslinch Lake home last week.

In an interview with Torstar News Service yesterday, Christopher Watts said
he gave 13-year-old Amanda Raymond a prescription painkiller called
Percodan while she was partying at his house with four other teenage girls.
He said the dose was not enough to kill her.

Watts said the girls arrived on the island on Tuesday, June 26, and spent
the first day sunbathing and relaxing in his hot tub. They partied all
night on Somme Island near Cambridge before crashing on his bed at about 10
a.m., June 27.

He said he wasn't sexually involved with any of the girls and said Raymond
told him she was 18 years old.

Raymond was pronounced dead at Cambridge Memorial Hospital after she was
found unconscious in Watts' bed at about 9 p.m. June 27.

Wellington OPP said they are questioning witnesses, including Watts.

Watts was well known to Hamilton police. He was known to use different
identities and have a Houdini-like ability to break out of jail. The
Hamilton man had 27 criminal convictions for a variety of offences when he
was sent to jail for four years in 1989 for binding and gagging a
16-year-old girl during a three-day cocaine and booze binge.

In an interview, Watts said he had 20 Percodan pills - "percs" - last
Wednesday. He said he gave six of the powerful painkillers to one of the
girls partying at his home, who then gave three pills to Raymond.

But he denies the drugs led to her death.

"The pills give a buzz for one hour or two," he said. "There is no way she
could have (overdosed) from it. Not even if she took all six. It's
impossible for her to OD."

Research from an RCMP Web site on Percodan shows with large doses,
breathing may slow or come to a complete stop, resulting in death. Using
the drug is very dangerous when used in combination with alcohol.

Watts, who admits to a lengthy criminal record, said about five young
women, the oldest being about 20, came to his island home for an all-night
party last Tuesday night. Alcohol and drugs were available, he said.

Watts said yesterday that at least two of the girls - not Raymond - took
Ecstasy they brought themselves. Other medication was available in his
cupboard, but he said he's not sure if Raymond had any.

Wellington OPP said Raymond's death may be drug related but can't confirm
that until an autopsy and toxicology tests are completed.

Watts said he tries to teach people partying at his home not to abuse drugs.

"I think it's all a question of drug use instead of drug abuse," he said.
"I think that's the most thing I profess to people when they come out here
- - if you're going to do drugs to get high, don't go overboard."

He said the girls stayed up all night partying and passed out early
Wednesday morning in his bed while he went outside to do yard work.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, Watts said he left to run some errands and drop two of
the girls off in Kitchener. A few hours later, he received a cellphone call
from one of the girls, who said Raymond wasn't breathing and blood was
coming out of her nose.

Watts said he had no part in Raymond's death.

"Hell no," he said, when asked about a relation to Raymond's death and a
confinement conviction he received in Hamilton in 1989.

The judge who sentenced him in that case had described his conduct as
"despicable and cowardly."

"This time you've gone too far. You acted in a cowardly way towards this
small girl. No real man would be proud of confining a 16-year-old girl. You
should be ashamed of yourself," Justice Gordon Sullivan said at the time.

A few months earlier, assistant Crown attorney Laverne Urban had compared
Watts as the "Joker" - a character from the Batman movie - because of his
ability to break out of jail and deceive police.

While he was awaiting trial on the confinement case, Watts escaped from
Barton Street jail and was at large for two months. He had told jail
officials he injured his arm and asked to have it X-rayed. Watts managed to
slip away from his guards while at Hamilton General Hospital.

He had earlier tried to break out of a holding cell at the Oakville police
station by crawling through the ventilation system. The plan went awry,
however, when he fell through the ceiling into a room next to the target
range where he was immediately arrested.

Born and raised in Hamilton, he had apparently disappeared from the city in
1982 while he was facing a number of outstanding criminal charges. Police
didn't realize at the time he had created a whole knew identity and was
living as Clifford Snider from 1983 to 1988.

When police stopped him in 1983 for having a radar detector in his car, he
showed a driver's licence for Clifford Snider, whose birth date was listed
as Sept. 18, 1960. He was still using the alias five years later when
police stopped him for speeding in Flamborough. This time, he showed a
driver's licence with his own picture in it.

Hamilton Detective Peter Abi-Rashed discovered the ruse and charged Watts
for personation after learning the real Clifford Snider had died as a young
baby and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. In a scheme reminiscent of the
Day of the Jackal, Watts created the new identity after obtaining the
child's name from his grave marker. From information gleaned from the
baby's death notice, he obtained a birth certificate and later a driver's

Assistant Crown Attorney John Nixon - who prosecuted Watts on the
confinement charge - admitted he was a cut above his peers intellectually.

"He's the most scary thing we'll see in the criminal courts - an
intelligent criminal. A rare breed in the criminal courts," Nixon told the
judge in 1989.

Watts' lawyer argued that his client had no convictions for violence prior
to the unlawful confinement incident.

And in a pre-sentence report, Watts was described as a "professional
criminal" who had managed to buy a house and live quite comfortably through
his adult life without ever holding a regular job.

Today, Watts lives with his Rottweiler dog on the tree-lined island on
Puslinch Lake he bought eight years ago.

He said he is self-employed and "buys and sells and invests" for a living.

He said the death of Raymond has disturbed him and he plans to stop having
all-night parties.

"I'm going to turn something bad into something good," he said, noting he
hasn't slept in his bed since Raymond's death.

"I can't sleep," he said. "If I had been here and taken her to the hospital
she may have lived."
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