On September 01, 1991, a citizen heard someone digging in the desert near their Lucerne Valley residence and later saw a vehicle leave. The following day, this citizen and a neighbor walked over to where the digging was heard and located a body in a shallow grave.
After deputies arrived and located the body, the Sheriff’s Homicide Detail responded and assumed the investigation. The body was found in a rural desert area of Lucerne Valley, southeast of Santa Rosa Street and High Road, in the County of San Bernardino. The decedent was later identified as Victim #1, Spencer Watts, aka Scorgeoni Platerno, then 26 years of age of Victorville.
Watt’s cause of death was determined to be multiple gunshot wounds to the head. In addition to the gunshot wounds, there was also an arrow embedded in his head.
During the investigation, detectives learned Watts lived with Suspect Octavio Romero aka “Tavo.” On September 06, 1991, detectives and criminalists responded to Romero’s residence, located in the 13600 block of White Sail Drive, Victorville, CA. During the crime scene investigation, sheriff’s personnel located evidence inside the residence consistent with someone being murdered at the location and there was evidence someone attempted to clean up the crime scene.
During the 1991 investigation, Peter Carassone (WMA-28) was identified as also being involved in Watts’ murder. Carassone was an associate of Romero’s and in 1993, Carassone pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder (Spencer Watts).
The blood spatter located inside Romero’s residence in 1991 was tested by the Sheriff’s Crime Lab in 2011. DNA from the blood was identified as belonging to the murder victim, Spencer Watts.
In 1991, Victim #2, Keith Sparrow, then 19 years of age, was living in Spring Valley Lake area of Victorville with his girlfriend, who said Sparrow, Romero and Spencer Watts knew each other. On August 26, 1991, Romero arrived at Sparrow’s residence in a vehicle. Sparrow got into Romero’s vehicle and they drove away together. This was the last time Sparrow’s girlfriend ever saw him and he never returned to collect any of his property.
In 2007, Detective Greg Myler interviewed Sparrow’s family members; none had seen or heard from Keith since August 26, 1991. As of today’s date, Sparrow’s body has never been located but detectives received information he was murdered by Romero and buried at an unknown location, possibly near Adelanto.
On March 08, 2012, based on the extensive investigations conducted from 1991 through 2012, Sheriff’s Cold Case Team Detective Greg Myler arrested Octavio Romero at his Riverside residence for the murders of Spencer Watts and Keith Sparrow. Romero was booked at West Valley Detention Center for two counts of PC 187 – Murder.
The Sheriff’s Homicide Detail Cold Case Team is funded through a $500,000 grant award from the U.S Department of Justice. This investigation is still ongoing and detectives are requesting anyone who may have information about these murders to contact Sgt. Carlos A. Espinoza or Detectives Greg Myler or Ryan Ford of the Sheriff’s Homicide Detail / Cold Case Team at (909) 387-3589. Callers who wish to remain annonymous can contact We-Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME.
Refer: Sgt. Carlos A. Espinoza, Detectives Greg Myler and Ryan Ford
Station: Specialized Investigations Division / Homicide Detail
Phone No. (909) 387-3589
Case No. DR# 079100520 / H #1991-098
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