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Cairo man to receive life sentence for double murder during attempted bank robbery

Posted by on Thursday, March 16th, 2017 @ 8:13 pm.

CAIRO, Ill.— Donald S. Boyce, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that James Nathaniel Watts, age 32, of Cairo, has pleaded guilty to a federal Superseding Indictment regarding the May 2014 attempted robbery of the First National Bank in Cairo, Illinois.

Evidence discussed in court established that on May 15, 2014, at approximately 4:45 p.m., James Watts approached three employees as they left the bank after closing.

Watts covered his face with a folded white pillowcase and armed himself with a handgun and hunting knife.

Watts forced the three employees back into the bank at gunpoint.

Once inside, he bound each of the employees’ hands with zip ties as he attempted to gain entry to the vault.

The employees were unable to open the vault because it was equipped with a time lock that could not open until the next morning.

Watts then forced the three employees into the banks break room where he hilled Anita Grace and Nits Smith and attempted to kill Kaeley Price.

Nita Smith died at the bank. Anita Grace died from injuries inflicted by Watts shortly after being transported to the hospital.

Watts believed he had also killed Kaeley Price.

While critically injured, Kaeley Price survived and was able to call 911 after Watts fled the bank.

Police captured Watts following a high-speed chase and manhunt.

Authorities found him hiding in a structure of a railroad trestle bridge that spans the Ohio River between Illinois and Kentucky.

With respect to Count 1, Watts faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

That count charges that on May 15, 2014, in Alexander County, Watts by force, violence and intimidation, did attempt to take from the person and presence of another, money belonging to and in the care, custody, control, management and possession of the First National Bank in Cairo, the deposits of which were then insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and in committing such offense, Watts assaulted and put in jeopardy the life of another person by the use of a dangerous weapon or weapons, that is a knife and a gun; and further, in committing such offense, Watts killed Anita Grace and Nita Smith.

Count 2 charges that on the same date, in the same county, Watts, having previously been convicted by a court of a felony punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, did knowingly possess, in and affecting commerce, a firearm, identified as a Colt, model MK IV 80 Mustang, .380 semi-automatic pistol.

On that count he faces up to 10 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised released to follow any term of incarceration imposed.

The court scheduled Watts’ sentencing hearing for May 25, 2017, at the United States District Courthouse in Benton.

Watts remains in the custody of the United States Marshals until that time.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jim Cutchin and George Norwood, and CCS Trial Attorney Jeffrey Zick.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Illinois State Police, and numerous other law enforcement agencies in Illinois and Missouri.

Short URL: https://www.disclosurenewsonline.com/?p=89285

Posted by on Mar 16 2017. Filed under Alexander, DISCLOSURE CONTENT!, Illinois. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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