Todd Watson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was arrested after he allegedly made obscene phone calls and sent threatening letters to several Broward judges claiming to be their “biggest nightmare.”
Watson, 53, is charged with several misdemeanors, including 10 counts of making obscene phone calls and five counts of stalking. He is being held in Broward Main Jail on $100,000 bond. He is forbidden from contacting any judges and will have to wear an ankle monitor if he manages to post bail. He will also be restricted from visiting the courthouse without a police escort.
According to the complaint, Watson is landscaper and father of three who was convicted of drug trafficking charges in 2011. He was sentenced in Broward Circuit Court to six years in prison and was released in March 2017. He has since been stalking and harassing several Broward judges and their assistants—even ones who were not involved in his case.
Watson initially targeted judges Peter Weinstein, Kenneth Gillespie, Jeffrey Levenson, David Haimes, Edward Merrigan, and Sandra Perlman. He reportedly called and sent letters mocking the judges and calling them scumbags and pedophiles. He accused them of colluding to wrongfully convict, fabricating evidence, and doctoring transcripts. Watson promised to see them all die in prison, the complaint said.
The stalking escalated on April 18 when Watson reportedly knocked on the door of Gillespie’s chambers and tried to forcefully enter the room when the judge’s assistant opened the door. Gillespie used a panic button to alert the police. A month later, Watson went to Merrigan’s courtroom and refused to stand when the judge took the bench; he had to be escorted out of the room by police.
“I pretty much have never seen somebody so dangerous, reckless and relentless in my entire life,” said BSO detective Joseph Kessling during Watson’s first-appearance hearing on Monday. “He’s made it perfectly clear that he’s a nightmare, he’s free, he’s not going away and he is not going to stop.”
Last Sunday, Watson reportedly contacted five more judges: Andrew Siegel, Martin Fein, John Bowman, Tim Bailey, and Ernest Kollra. Some of them were not involved in his case and three were not appointed to their positions until after Watson’s drug trafficking case was resolved.
“I have judges that are literally afraid to go out into the halls,” said Kessling. “The judges, their wives, their children . . . they’re living in fear pretty much on a daily basis.”
Prosecutor Eric Linder noted that every judge in Broward County is a potential target. To avoid any appearance of conflict, a former Miami-Dade County judge was brought in to hear Watson’s case.
“It’s a rather sad case,” said acting Senior Judge Lester Langer. “When Mr. Watson recently was released from prison after doing his time, he has spent most of his time, rather than with his children, his mother and his job, he has been spending time here in the courthouse, either on the phone or by mail going after the judiciary in some way or another. It’s unfortunate.”