On August 27th, 2018, a man traveling down a rural country road in Monroe County, Missouri, discovered a car stopped on the side of the road. Next to the car, the man observed the lifeless body of a young woman. The man could tell there was no life left in the young woman but followed the 911 operator’s instructions until first responders arrived and confirmed what he already knew, the woman was dead. Molly Watson, age thirty-five, was declared dead two days before her wedding day. Molly’s death would unravel seven years of twisted truths and outright lies, shocking the rural Missouri community.
Molly Nicole Watson was born December 15th, 1982, in Moberly, Missouri to Timothy and Sandra Watson. She was raised with her brother, Tim. Molly was an excellent student in school, excelling in academics. According to one of her YouTube videos, she struggled with Asperger’s Syndrome, but was considerably high functioning. She had a college education focused on computers, education, and psychology. Molly loved to sing, make costumes, and make videos on YouTube. She was a loving person who was adored by many.
Molly had been married, but that marriage ended in divorce. During the divorce proceedings, Molly learned she was pregnant and gave birth to a son. Following her first marriage, Molly was in a relationship with a childhood friend named Amber for about five years. While living with Amber, Molly started a new job at Moberly Area Correctional Center. There, Molly met an older corrections officer named James Addie, and for Molly it was love at first sight. The two began seeing each other in 2011, causing her relationship with Amber to end.
James Addie was fifteen years older than Molly and had been married multiple times. He explained to Molly that he and his most recent wife, Melanie Addie, were in the process of a divorce. Once the divorce was finalized, he wanted to live happily-ever-after with Molly. Molly was totally in love, and the two dated for seven years. They went on vacations to Mexico and Disney World and planned their future together. Molly felt like she had finally found her soul mate in Jim. She was ready to spend her entire life with Jim.
Despite Molly’s overwhelming feelings for Jim, her family felt apprehensive about Jim. “He could never look you in the eye. He could never talk to you directly. Everything was very evasive with him. He put off bad vibes to everybody” Molly’s brother Tim said (Oxygen, 2022). Molly’s parents and brother had their doubts about Jim, and it bothered them that Molly always seemed to be paying for their trips and expenses. The two did not live together, but Molly was planning to spend her life with him.
In 2018, Molly and Jim became engaged after seven years of dating and started planning a wedding for April 29th, 2018. Molly was so excited, planning a Disney themed wedding in which she imagined marrying her prince charming. Molly made videos as she tried on gorgeous ball gowns and chose her wedding gown. She ended up buying two dresses, unable to decide which one was best. “There was a lot of burgundy and gold, kind of reminded me of a Renaissance kind of themed wedding. From Molly’s perspective, it was going to be a beautiful wedding and the best day ever” said the wedding planner (ABC News, 2022).
A few weeks before the wedding, Molly instructed the wedding planner that they would have to reduce the guest list. She told her family that Jim’s ex-wife, Melanie Addie, had been in a horrible automobile accident and was on life support. She said Jim and his children, a son and daughter, were going through the immensely difficult process of decided whether to remove life support. Just a few weeks before their wedding, Jim said they chose to remove life support and he had to be with his children during this time.
Molly’s brother, who never liked Jim, was suspicious. She pointed out to Molly that she could look online to see divorce records, and there were no records of James and Melanie Addie divorcing. Molly, however, was moving boxes of her things into Jim’s attic so that she and her son could move in right after the wedding. The week of their wedding, Jim and Molly went to get their marriage license. According to the county recorder, “Addie seemed perturbed when he asked if Addie had ever been married before and how the marriage ended” (Oxygen, 2022). He said that Jim said, “Why do you need to know that?” (Oxygen, 2022). Jim signed an affidavit that he was legally able to marry, as did Molly, and the marriage license was granted. Two days later, Molly was dead.
On April 27th, 2018, Jim’s daughter remembers him coming home late in the evening. She said everything felt normal, nothing out of sorts. Her dad said he “went to see a friend”. She had no reason to be suspicious, so she hugged and kissed her father before going to bed. The next morning, police were at James Addie’s door. The secrets he kept would soon no longer be secrets.
Molly’s body was found by her vehicle on a remote road on April 27th, 2018, two days before her planned wedding to Jim Addie. Police found her engagement ring still on her finger, which indicated to them that this was not a robbery situation. They also found belongings in Molly’s car that identified her, including her marriage license to James Addie. As in most cases, a significant other is often looked at first as a suspect, but police also just needed to notify Jim that his fiancé was found murdered. Molly had been shot in the back of the head, and the autopsy revealed the gun was pressed against the back of her head when she was killed.
When police knocked on Jim Addie’s known address, a woman answered the door. Police were surprised when she identified herself as Melanie Addie, Jim’s wife of twenty-three years and mother of his children. She recalls being utterly confused when police explained to her that a woman had been killed who was engaged to her husband. “It was just mind-boggling. It made no sense at all. It didn’t seem right. This was not my life” said Melanie (Diaz, Paparella, & Effron, 2022).
Melanie and James Addie married in 1995. Together they had a son Ben and daughter Emma. The day the police showed up at the Addie house, Emma was getting ready to attend her prom. Melanie worked as a teacher’s assistant while James worked as a corrections officer. She had never suspected he was having an affair. “He seemed the same all the time. He would get off work at 3pm and usually he would get home at 5 and I would say, ‘Why are you always late’… and that would be an argument. He didn’t want to tell me anything” (Diaz et al., 2022). Melanie recalled her husband going to Florida on a business trip, when in reality he was with Molly. She also recalled him going with friends to Mexico. Jim enjoyed that trip so much he took Melanie to the same resort later. He had been with Molly in Mexico instead of friends.
After Jim was taken in for questioning, Emma awoke for her prom festivities. Emma said she knew something was wrong when family members were sitting at the table and her mom whispered, “How am I going to tell her this” (Evil Lives Here). All Melanie could tell her was that a woman had died, and the police wanted to talk to her father. Since he was a corrections officer, it wasn’t out of the scope of possibilities that he may be brought in to provide information on a former inmate. Emma’s mother insisted she get ready for prom and enjoy her night, which she did. Later, Emma saw a news article explaining her father was engaged to the woman who had died. A woman she had once met when her father took her to have a costume made for a comic convention, thought she had no idea her father was in a relationship with the woman.
After Jim was taken to the police station, Melanie began looking in the garage for anything that could explain what was happening with her husband. When she came up empty handed, she looked in the attic. She found the boxes Molly Watson had been moving into her home including photo albums. The photo albums were filled with pictures of Jim and Molly over the past seven years including on those trips to Florida and Mexico. Melanie was understandably devastated as she realized her marriage was over.
Jim’s vehicle was found to be a match to the tire impressions at the scene of the crime. This was enough to arrest and charge him with Molly’s murder. Additional evidence included discovery of a secret second phone in which Jim used to communicate with Molly. A witness had reported seeing a man parked along the road with Molly before her murder, although the witness could not positively identify Addie. A unique t-shirt was found nearby Molly’s body with Molly’s blood on it. It was identified by Emma Addie as one she had made for her father. A search of Molly’s phone showed the day before her murder, she was searching for Melanie Addie’s obituary. Finally, ballistics determined a gun and ammunition belonging to Jim was consistent with the slug and weapon used to kill Molly. However, there was no DNA evidence on the gun that matched Molly Watson and no DNA belonging to Jim Addie on the t-shirt.
Melanie Addie filed for divorce a week after her husband’s arrest. She later told the press that “He was a pretty selfish person… He could be controlling and intimidating… it could be challenging. It just seems like something he would do to fix a problem” (ABC News, 2022). She implies that she believes her now ex-husband is guilty, despite his insistence that he is innocent of murder. His daughter has also stated that she believes in his guilt.
Nearly three years to the day after Molly’s murder, James Addie finally stood trial. On the first day of testimony, April 26th, 2021, both sides shared opening statements. Jim’s defense focused on the fact that adultery does not prove he is guilty of murder. The jury saw the photos of Molly’s body and heard the 911 call from the person who found her. Photos were shown that included all the wedding supplies Molly had in her home. This evidence demonstrated how much Molly was looking forward to being Jim’s bride.
On the second day of trial, Melanie Addie took the stand against her ex-husband. She testified that she had no idea about Jim and Molly’s relationship. Emma Addie provided testimony that her father was not home between 7pm-10pm, when Molly was killed. Jim had previously told police he was home at 7pm and spoke to Molly on the phone for about a half an hour. He did, in fact, talk to Molly between 7pm and 8pm the night of her murder, and it was the last call Molly ever had. Emma also testified about the t-shirt, tying in directly to her father. The defense, however, said that didn’t prove anything given Molly and Jim’s affair.
The wedding planner testified that Molly explained that Jim’s former wife, Melanie, had died shortly before their wedding as a result of an automobile accident. Melanie, however, was obviously very much alive. The data from Molly’s phone showed she was on the phone with Jim when she drove from her home to the site where her body was found. The ballistics evidence was presented also, attempting to connect the .22-caliber projectile found in Watson’s head with Addie’s gun and ammo. Finally, two former jail inmates testified that they had asked Jim why his bail was so high when he was awaiting trial, to which they allege he said, “I put someone face down in a ditch” (Court TV, 2021).
On the third day of trial, a firearms examiner testified that the ammo from Jim Addie’s home is consistent with the ammo that would have been in an empty ammo box found near the scene. Experts testified that the tire tracks at the scene were consistent with Jim Addie’s vehicle. The medical examiner explained the cause of death as “a contact gunshot wound to the back of the head” (Court TV, 2021). The state rested its case. The defense rested without putting on a defense, and Jim Addie declined to testify.
On April 29th, 2021, three years after Molly’s dream wedding was supposed to be, each side made closing arguments. The defense insisted that there was not enough evidence to link Jim Addie to this crime, saying “Your doubts are reasonable that James did not kill Molly” (Court TV, 2021). The prosecution suggested that “James Addie threw Molly away like a piece of garbage” (Court TV, 2021), suggesting his motive was to cover up his secret double life. The prosecution presented the theory that Molly had learned the truth about Jim’s marriage to Melanie after an unsuccessful search for her obituary. Once she confronted him, he shot her in the head as he had chosen his wife over his fiancé.
On the very day Jim and Molly would have celebrated their third wedding anniversary had they actually been married, the jury found Jim guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Jim was sentenced to life without parole for the first-degree murder charge plus twenty years for armed criminal action. He continues to claim he is innocent and plans to appeal his conviction. The prosecutor gave a statement following the sentencing in which she said, “Justice has been served today. James Addie will never be released from prison in the State of Missouri. His actions destroyed two families: the family of his victim, Molly Watson, and his own. While nothing can bring Ms. Watson back to her family who loved her very much, society can send the strong message that violent crime will not be tolerated. Murderers will face prosecution and justice” (Choiniere, 2022).
During the victim impact statements, Molly’s son said, “You took one of the most important people in my life away from me. She was an amazing, smart, beautiful person” (Choiniere, 2022). Her brother explained that his parents suffered unimaginable heartbreak after losing Molly that led to his mother having a complete psychological break-down, ultimately leading to her death. The stress of caring for his wife, caused Molly’s father to also pass away before justice was served for Molly. Tim believes his parents would still be alive if it were not for James Addie’s selfish actions. Tim described his sister as his best friend.
Molly Watson loved whole-heartedly and maybe even blindly. She trusted easily, falling madly in love with a con artist. With the wedding fast approaching and Molly becoming suspicious, Jim acted in cowardly fashion by ending her young life instead of simply ending the relationship. Perhaps he wanted to ensure his wife and children would never know about his seven-year affair and countless lies. Ultimately, his double-life destroyed everyone around him.
Evil Lives Here: Shadows of Death (2022). A Double Life. Season 3 Episode 2; Available on Discovery+