In their statements - which detectives read during a preliminary hearing - the men tried to minimize their involvement in the May 11 robbery-turned-slaying by pointing fingers at one another. Only the suspected gunman, Josephe Murray, 19, had nothing to say.
He waived his right to a hearing and was not brought to court.
But Murray was present on surveillance video that captured the 3:30 a.m. slaying inside the closed Haagen-Dazs ice-cream store on South Street near 2nd, which Watson had to enter to get to his apartment on the second floor.
After watching the video and hearing the defendants' statements, Municipal Judge James DeLeon ordered Murray to stand trial for first-degree murder and related counts. Clarence Pone, 42, and Larry Nelson, 47, were ordered to stand trial for general murder and related counts, and Ronnie Robinson, 40, will be tried for second-degree murder and related counts.
Half of the victim's family and friends left the courtroom before the violent video was shown, apparently having been warned by Assistant District Attorney Jude Conroy.
The video shows some of the defendants loitering in front of the ice-cream shop and talking on cellphones before Watson arrives in a dark Lincoln.
Watson and the driver emerged from the car carrying music equipment and walked to the shop's front door.
As Watson unlocked the door, the other man sets the equipment by the door and walks away.
Moments later, the video showed Murray and Pone rushing Watson, who tried to fight them off.
But the robbers quickly knocked him to the floor and dragged him to the back of the store, where they punched and kicked him repeatedly.
Pone is seen leaving the store while Murray continued the beating, which ended with a gunshot to the victim's head. Watson, who also was shot in the chest, died at the scene.
The man who had dropped Watson off in the Lincoln came back to the shop minutes later, saw Pone and Murray leaving and notified police after finding Watson inside.
Pone told police that Nelson recruited him to help rob Watson. He said Robinson, a bouncer at Copabanana, tipped Nelson and Murray off about Watson's drug stash and money, Detective Joseph Bamberski testified.
Robinson told police that Nelson was a drug customer of Watson's and asked him to help set up the victim, but he declined, Detective Francis Graf said.
Nelson told police that Robinson was the "mastermind" of the robbery, Detective John Harkins testified.
On Twitter: @MensahDean