Survivor of Joaquin Country Inn shooting: 'I forgive them both. I call that the devil's work'

Sam Watts (Source: KTRE Staff)
Sam Watts (Source: KTRE Staff)
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Bobbie Grubbs (Source: KTRE Staff)
Bobbie Grubbs (Source: KTRE Staff)
Deedra Grubbs (Source: KTRE Staff)
Deedra Grubbs (Source: KTRE Staff)

JOAQUIN, TX (KTRE) - It seems like the scene out of a horror movie, but for one Joaquin man, the memory of that dreadful day is still fresh in his mind.

On April 27, 2012, Sam Watts was working as a maintenance man at the Joaquin Country Inn. He was just finishing up his work in Room 129 when he heard a noise from outside.

"I hear something hit the porch—boom! And he was in the door, with his gun up…moving it around…and he said, 'if you move, I'm going to shoot you,'" Watts said.

Watts said the shooter, Bobbie Grubbs, asked him for his keys and his master keys. However, Watts wasn't the only employee in the room. Hotel clerk, Marilyn Retamar, and housekeeper, Martha Acevedo-Chan, were both in the room. Despite Watts doing everything Grubbs asked, he said, Grubbs began to shoot.

"[Marilyn] just turned her head and I was standing there looking around at her sort of sideway, and she turned her head like she was going to go. That's when he started shooting," Watts said. "He shot her. He didn't tell me anything. He didn't say nothing. He just turned the gun on me, and squares down on the trigger."

Watts was hit once in the side by a bullet, and then again on the right side of his jawbone.

"I got shot…in my side; right side, right under my arm and then I got shot right behind the ear, right there where the jawbone is there. I got shot right there behind that jawbone, hit that jawbone, broke my jawbone and just barely missed messing up my eye," Watts said.

Grubbs then went into the bathroom where Acevedo-Chan was cleaning and began to shoot her, Watts said.

In June 2014, Watts testified in the Capital Murder trial of Deedra Grubbs, who was found guilty of that charge. Her husband, Bobbie, was also found guilty of the same charge several weeks earlier.

During the trial, Watts said, "I just kept thinking, 'Lord, help me.'"

Retamar also testified during the trial, recalling the experience of hearing Acevedo-Chan die.

"She only screamed. He kept shooting her, and she would scream like 'Ah! Ah!'" Retamar said. "She's gone. I lost my best friend."

Bobbie Grubbs testified that he was the mastermind of the shooting and his wife had nothing to do with it.

"I seen Sam, the black guy, and I'm looking at him. I told [Deedra] stay here. Don't get up," Grubbs said. "I thought people were following me. Everybody I ran across that day was dead or dying. [Deedra] had absolutely nothing to do with it. At that point, I thought there was a body count of four."

Grubbs testified that earlier that day he and Deedra had tied up a former Montgomery County employer and stole her guns and jewelry. He said they were on the run from the law when their car broke down at the Joaquin Country Inn.

"I seen all three of them. I see a mini-van. I see an opportunity. I took it," Grubbs said.

After Grubbs shot Acevedo-Chan, Watts said he heard Retamar call 911.

In the 911 tape, Retamar can be heard begging for help.

"I got shot in my head. Hurry up! You need to hurry up. I'm gonna die!" Retamar said in the tape.

While Retamar testified it felt like an hour had passed before police arrived, Watts said it was probably only five minutes.

"I heard somebody jump up on that porch and I'm thinking, 'well, they're coming back, I guess,'" Watts said.

Since the shooting, Watts has had extensive surgery and can no longer swallow well on the right side of his throat. He has also lost much of his hearing in his right ear, and does not have much feeling on the right side of his face. Yet, he forgives the Grubbs, he said.

"I forgive 'em both. You know, I call that devil's work. The devil wants him to do things for him so when you do it, you're not doing it in your own mind," Watts said. "You're doing it for something else and I'm not mad at either one of them. The Lord got a plan for everything. I'm just thankful that I'm still here."

Bobbie Grubbs is in the William P. "Bill" Clements Unit in Potter County, which is east of the city of Amarillo, and Deedra Grubbs is in the Christina Melton Crain Unit in Gatesville, Texas. They both received life sentences for Capital Murder and two counts of Aggravated Assault.

If you have a survivors story to share, or know of somebody who has overcome a life challenge, send an email to Michelle Reed at

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