Christmas Day killing leads to drugs and weapons arrest for Lake Co. couple
UPPER LAKE – LAKE COUNTY – On Christmas Day around 9 o’clock in the morning, 30-year-old Maurice Oliver Watts III, apparently armed with a replica handgun, attempted a daylight break in at a home on Hunter Point Road in Upper Lake. He was shot and killed in the process, at least according to what the homeowners, James Michael Jean and Nora Katherine Jean reported to detectives.
At 9:50 am, the Lake County Sheriff’s office received a 911 call from a man reporting that someone was trying to break into his home. He reported that the intruder was armed, but was now lying outside suffering from a gunshot wound. He did not specify if he was the one who had shot him.
According to a Sheriff’s press release, deputies arrived at the home on the 1400 block of Hunter Point Road in rural Upper Lake, and indeed found a man lying dead from a gunshot wound, with a replica gun next to him. They also observed that the property was likely a marijuana grow site that had been completely harvested. The Lake Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit soon arrived to take over the investigation, and a search warrant was obtained for the property.
It soon became clear what Maurice Watts was after at the property, and that he was walking into a hornet’s nest in doing so. During the investigation, hundreds of pounds of semi-processed marijuana was located in a hidden room within a garage. An arsenal of weapons, including handguns, rifles, assault weapons, and ammunition including armor piercing and tracer bullets. As a result, the Narcotics Unit was also called in to investigate what appeared to be a major marijuana sales operation.
The narcotics investigation led to two more search warrants being issued, which were both served the next day. The first location was Jim Jean’s local business, Lake County Car Audio at 325 West Highway 20 in Upper Lake. That business, though apparently a respected local installer of car audio and security systems, was apparently running a side business of marijuana sales, as 173.3 pounds of processed pot was located and seized by detectives. The other search warrant was served at a residential home on the 6800 block of Broadway Avenue in Nice, just a few miles south on the shore of Clear Lake. Another 374 pounds of marijuana was found there, and like the Hunter Point location, a hidden room had also been constructed to hide the processed marijuana.
Together with 433.6 pounds taken from the original Hunter Point home, the total seized was 980.9 pounds of marijuana. A total of 3 handguns and 16 rifles and high powered assault rifles were seized along with the specialized ammunition. 50-year-old James Jean and 49-year-old Nora Jean were booked at the Lake County Hill Road Correctional Facility, charged with possession of marijuana for sale, committing a felony while armed, and possession of bullets with explosive agents. James Jean also faces charges of being a convicted felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. Their bail was set at $500,000, and they’re scheduled in court for Monday December 30. The death of Maurice Watts is being investigated, and no charges have been filed related to his killing.
Note: The original publication of this story included a Google Maps image of a property that turned out to be mis-identified as that belonging to the Jeans. The actual property is nearby, but not the one shown. We sincerely regret the error and implication that the property previously shown was involved in any way in this incident.
Press Democrat: Upper Lake pair arrested after suspected burglar shot dead