I’ve always wondered why Watson thought he had to kill Steve Parent? He could have simply laid low in the bushes with the 3 girls and let him pass. It’s doubtful Parent would have noticed them. The only reason I can surmise is that Parent would have noticed their car, parked down the hill, on his exit. He could have provided a description of the car after the murders, and if he were suspicious enough to note the license plate, that would have been a real liability.
But then why use the revolver instead of the knife? They were going to creepy-crawl the house, relying on a stealth approach — and to initiate the whole thing with 4 gunshots in a canyon that would echoed the sound? Watson had to know that the shots might have alerted the occupants, and possibly other inhabitants of the canyon. Someone might have called the police. (I’ve done this before when I heard distinctive gunshots in my neighborhood). Garretson heard the shots and thought they were Parent’s car backfiring. If Garretson heard them from the Guest House, further away, it’s probable that the occupants heard them, too. Only Frykowski was asleep.
I understand that the team had rolled the car back down the hill silently after approaching the gate. But I don’t know how far down the car was, or how exposed it was. Seems Watson was not thinking too clearly here. He could have ordered Parent out of the car at gunpoint, led him to the bushes, and he and the 3 girls could have dispatched him with the knives without making a racket.
But then Watson was not thinking too clearly when he told the victims they were “all going to die,” setting off panic.