Murdered cafe manager and fiance were to get married this weekend

Keith Smith talks to WBTV's Sharon Smith
Keith Smith talks to WBTV's Sharon Smith
Keith Smith at WBT Radio on Tuesday.
Keith Smith at WBT Radio on Tuesday.

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Keith Smith and Danielle Watson were planning to get married this weekend. Instead, he is preparing for her funeral

The pregnant manager at Fly Biscuit Cafe was stabbed Friday night during a robbery in the Ballantyne area.

"She was an amazing person," said Smith.

He called 911 after Watson didn't return home when her shift was supposed to end. Smith did not have a car, so he couldn't drive to check on Watson, 25, who was two months pregnant with their child.

Watson's funeral is now set for Saturday, the same day Smith and she had planned to marry after being in a relationship for 9 months.

The suspect,  Mark Cox, 22, was released from prison just 2 months ago and robbed the restaurant, then killed Watson, police say. Watson, as a manger, had access to the safe, her parents told WBTV.

Smith told WBTV Tuesday that he was certain his fiancee had no idea Cox was a felon. He will never go to a Flying Biscuit again because he thinks they should have been more accountable in hiring a just-released felon.

All weekend, police hunted for Cox, who eventually was nabbed in Fayetteville, where near where he is originally from.

Smith says he believes Watson didn't make it easy for her attacker. "She was a firecracker," he said. "I know she fought him," said Smith.

Police response to the café was slowed Friday night and early Saturday morning when  there was a mix-up on the 911 call Smith made.

The 911 operator has since been suspended after Smith gave the correct business name of "Flying Biscuit" – but might have not given the accurate address.

"I don't really know what happened in the communication. I haven't heard the 911 tape," Smith, who met Watson while he was playing in a band, told the South Charlotte Weekly on Monday. "I know I gave the right information... I know I did."

Smith said that police or 911 dispatchers never called him back to clarify any information. Smith did not have a car to drive because Watson had it at work -- and Cox later stole it, police say.

Smith fell asleep that night around 2 am.

An investigation is continuing into the dispatching procedures and actions.

"I feel sorry for him (the dispatcher), I'm sure he feels horrible if he knows he screwed that up," Smith said. "But people make mistakes."

Smith wanted the public to know how special his fiancé was.

"I want people to know that I and her family loved her very much," he told the newspaper. "Anyone who met her knows that she's an incredible person. And an amazing person. Such a great person to be around."

Smith is setting up a fund to pay for some of Watson's burial expenses. Until that is set up, he encourages anyone donate to the American Cancer Society in her name.

Visitation for Watson is Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at McLean Funeral Home, 700 S. New Hope Road in Gastonia. Funeral is at the funeral home Saturday at 11 a.m.

Copyright 2012 WBTV and the South Charlotte Weekly.