Murder of Samira Watkins by Navy boyfriend Zachary Littleton examined on 48 Hours on ID: NCIS

Mugshot of Zachary Littleton
Zach Littleton was convicted of murdering girlfriend Samira Watkins. Pic credit: Florida Dept. of Corrections

Samira Watkins’s body was found washed up on shore in a duffel bag about 200 yards away from the entrance of the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida. The pregnant mother had vanished a few days previously. Her head had been bound in duct tape, and she had died of asphyxiation.

In the fall of 2009, 25-year-old Samira Watkins was on top of the world; after getting out of an abusive relationship, she felt she had finally met the man of her dreams, a kind, caring military man. However, the relationship quickly soured after Samira informed her new man that she was pregnant.

It turned out that her boyfriend, Navy Police Officer Zachary Littleton, was leading a double life. He had neglected to inform Samira that he was married with a young daughter; and that his name wasn’t Ricky.

The couple then began to drift apart; however, on 29th October, Littleton got in touch with Samira to say he wanted to make it work for the sake of the baby. She went round to his apartment and was never heard from again.

Police interrogated Littleton, who admitted he had had an affair with Samira but claimed it was now over. He claimed he hadn’t seen Samira on the night of the murder. He told police his wife and daughter were coming to town, and they were going to move into a new home. A search of Littleton’s car and apartment yielded zero evidence.

Samira’s abusive ex-boyfriend William Peters then became a prime suspect after investigators discovered he’d just been released from prison. However, he was discounted after providing a solid alibi.

At this stage, Samira’s body had been found; police noticed her body was missing a specific earring. A further search of Littleton’s apartment found the missing earring and disinfectant wipes that matched ones found with the body. Police also discovered phone records that proved Littleton’s affair had not ended.

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Video surveillance from a waffle house and a receipt for a taxi suggested that Littleton had been lying about his whereabouts on the night of the murder. Investigators believe that he murdered Samira when she refused to get an abortion and then dumped her body in the water.

Littleton is serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

See the crime investigated on 48 Hours on ID: NCIS at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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