Business of Law

Probate Matter Takes Unusual Twist as Client's Brother Is Charged with Solicitation to Murder

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Attorney Bobby Pearlman was handing what seemed like a somewhat routine probate matter in Charleston, S.C., until his client’s brother was arrested for allegedly trying to put a contract hit on Pearlman’s client.

“We don’t get this all the time. It’s the talk of the legal community and certainly a little unusual,” he tells the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Jim Roy Watkins Jr., 59, was arrested Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he lives, and charged with one count of solicitation to commit murder, the newspaper reports. He is being held without bond in the Broward County Jail.

Watkins, who has no prior record except for minor traffic infractions, allegedly tried to kill his younger brother, Pearlman’s client, after their parents died and unexpectedly proved to have a $20 million estate, according to the newspaper. The two brothers were their parents’ sole heirs.

Pearlman says his client, Steven Watkins, 53, first heard of the alleged effort to arrange a contract hit when authorities contacted him to warn him.

“It’s devastating to me, and my life will be forever changed,” Steven Watkins tells the Sun-Sentinel.

Sgt. Frank Sousa of the Fort Lauderdale police says a witness tip led to the arrest of Jim Roy Watkins. He allegedly offered a $20,000 down payment and $60,000 to $80,000 upon completion of the job, providing photos of his brother, his home and his car.

Sousa says “a lot of greed” was the motivation.

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