Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that Howard Watson (age 61), of Pawtucket, pleaded guilty on September 5, 2019 in Providence County Superior Court to two felony counts and was sentenced to 25 years at the ACI for the July 31, 2017 murder of Mackenzie Irons in Providence.
Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause sentenced Watson to a 50-year sentence with 25 years to serve at the ACI and the balance suspended with probation after he pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder. Watson also pleaded guilty to one count of carrying a firearm without a license and was sentenced to serve 10 years at the ACI. Both sentences will be served concurrently.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that during the evening of July 31, 2019, Watson fatally shot Irons after the two became involved in an argument in the area of Donelson and June Streets in Providence.
Earlier that evening, Watson and Irons engaged in an altercation at that same intersection, during which Irons punched Watson. Watson responded by pulling a pocket knife on Irons, causing Irons to run away. Watson then left the scene and returned 20 minutes later with a firearm, where he encountered Irons who had also returned. He approached Irons and fired two rounds from close range. One of the rounds struck Irons, resulting in his death.
Detective Jason Simoneau of the Providence Police Department led the investigation into the case and Assistant Attorney General Tim Healy and Special Assistant Attorney General Katelyn Revens prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.