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Authorities have charged a suspect in the Dec. 31 slaying of his 35-year-old wife and her 36-year-old friend, officials said Thursday.

Robert Bryant Watts, 36, was arraigned Thursday on two counts of First Degree Premeditated Murder and two counts of Felony Firearm, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. 

Police said Watts went to Theresa Janay Watts' home in the 9200 block of McKinney near East Outer Drive and Interstate 94 at about 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, demanding to see his three children. They said the couple is in the middle of a divorce.

Police said he pulled out a handgun and shot her when she refused his request. The children were home at the time, according to officials.

After shooting his wife, Watts made the children go into a bathroom, officials said. Investigators believe that while the children were in the bathroom, Watts shot Tarance Daivon Smith. 

Watts and the children left the home after the shooting, police said.

Police were called to the home the next day and found the two bodies.

Watts appeared before 36th District Court  Magistrate Charles W. Anderson III for a video arraignment. 

Watts mouthed "What?" as the charges against him were read, saying later: "I haven't been able to talk (about) my side ... (of) what happened."

Anderson advised him that an arraignment was not the proper hearing to do that. A not-guilty plea was entered on Watts' behalf. He was scheduled for a probable cause conference Jan. 12 and a preliminary exam Jan. 19.

Watts peacefully surrendered to police on Dec. 31 after community tips led them to a relative’s home in the 14000 block of Brook Drive in Redford Township, Detroit Deputy Chief Elvin Barren said Monday. After police secured the area around the home and negotiated with him, all seven people inside came out without incident.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office said Tuesday both victims had gunshot wounds to the head.

Watts and his wife had a history of domestic violence dating back to 2003, which included assaults, officials said. Watts also had a dangerous weapons charge from 2009.

The couple was separated and the woman had a personal protection order taken out against her husband.

Police were concerned when they couldn’t find the couple’s three children, ages 8, 12 and 15. But tips came in shortly thereafter that led police to relatives, where the children were found safe. 

jdickson@detroitnews.com

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