Suspects in Careaga family killing plead not guilty, get no bail

Three men accused of involvement in the 2017 killing of the Careaga family are being held without bail.

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. – Three suspects have pleaded not guilty to their alleged involvement in the 2017 killing of a prominent Kitsap County family.

Robert J Watson III, 50; Johnny James Watson, 49; and Danie Kelly Jr., 43, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to 16 counts including first-degree murder, first-degree murder, first-degree arson and first-degree burglary.

A judge ordered the suspects held without bail. The men must not possess firearms, alcohol or drugs unless directed to do so, and they must not have contact with each other by order of the judge.

Three members of the Careaga family were killed on January 27, 2017. Christale Careaga, 37, and two of the 16-year-old boys in her blended family, Jonathon Higgins and Hunter Schaap, have been found dead in their burned-out home near Seebeck.

Two days later, on January 29, Christale’s husband, 43-year-old John Careaga, was found shot to death in his burned-out Ford F-150 pickup truck.

In January 2020, KCSO detectives linked the killings to a notorious motorcycle club and said members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club were directly involved in the killings.

Watson III, Watson and Kelly were arrested Monday morning.

The trial was set for August 1st.

Authorities said more information about the case would be released during a news conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday. KING 5 will stream the press conference on this story, on the free KING 5 mobile app and on the KING 5 YouTube page.

This is an evolving story. Check for updates again.

Download our free KING 5 app to keep up with news from across western Washington. Suspects in Careaga family killing plead not guilty, get no bail

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