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Life Sentence for Deaths of 2 Women in Botched Cairo Bank Robbery

May 26, 2017

BENTON, Ill. (AP) – A southern Illinois man will spend the rest of his life in prison for fatally stabbing two bank workers and critically wounding a third during a botched robbery.

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced 32-year-old James Nathaniel Watts of Cairo, Illinois, to life in prison without parole plus 10 years. Watts pleaded guilty in March to attempted armed bank robbery resulting in death and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The crime occurred in May 2014 at the First National Bank branch in Cairo. Authorities say Watts was armed with a gun when he confronted three female employees as they emerged from the bank after closing.

Killed were 52-year-old Anita Grace of Olive Branch, Illinois, and 52-year-old Nita Jo Smith of Wickliffe, Kentucky. A 23-year-old woman survived.

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