James Addie was a corrections officer who is now behind bars for life, convicted in the murder of his fiance, Molly Watson. Addie had been married for more than two decades to Melanie Addie when he killed Watson in 2018. He is 55 today and serving his time in a Missouri prison.
It took three years for Addie to face trial. He was convicted of first-degree murder in April 2021 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 10 years, in July. Melanie Addie filed for divorce from her husband just weeks after he was arrested, according to the Courier Post.

ABC 20/20 is looking into the case in a new episode airing tonight, Friday, January 7, 2022, at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Melanie Addie spoke to 20/20 for the two-hour special.

Here’s what you need to know:


Addie Was a Corrections Officer Who Is Now Behind Bars for Life in Missouri

James Addie traded his corrections officer uniform for a jumpsuit when he was convicted in the murder of Watson. He worked at the Moberly Area Correctional Center in Moberly, Missouri, where he met Watson, who also worked for the prison at the time, according to ABC News.

His ex-wife said on the show she did not know about the murder or her husband’s affair, but said she believed he was capable of murder.

“He was a pretty selfish person … He could be controlling and intimidating … it could be challenging,” she said on the show. “It just seemed like something he would do to fix a problem.”

Authorities said on the show that James Addie claimed he and Melanie Addie had divorced, and that she died from injuries she suffered in a car accident after she had been removed from life support. He claimed to be planning her funeral at the same time as his wedding. Melanie Addie was never in a serious car accident, officials said.


Addie Claims He Is Innocent & Plans to File an Appeal on His Conviction

Addie maintains his innocence, according to ABC News. While he did not take the stand at his trial, he read a statement in court during his sentencing. In it, he read a love letter he wrote to Watson. He also asked for a new trial, and said his attorney was ineffective and did not present all of the evidence in his support.

Watson’s family members also spoke at his trial. She had a son, Declan, who shared photos of himself with his mom to show the court before Addie’s sentencing. You can see the victim impact statements here. He also wrote a letter that was read before the court.

“You took one of the most important people in my life away from me. She was an amazing, smart and beautiful person,” the letter said.

Declan wrote that his mom made good decisions for him, and that she only made “one real, wrong decision:” trusting Addie.

The Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney issued a statement following the sentencing.

“Justice has been served today,” it said. “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.”

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