Watts Indicted in Bank Slayings


By WSIL Manager

UPDATED 10:40 p.m. June 3, 2014

WSIL -- A Cairo man has been indicted in connection with a deadly attempted bank robbery.

Prosecutors say 29-year-old James Watts tried to rob First National Bank in Cairo last month. He's accused of forcing three women inside and stabbing them, killing two while critically injuring the third. A grand jury has also found reason to consider the death penalty under the federal charges.

It's been two and a half weeks since the First National Bank in Cairo was the scene of two murders. The indictment says Watts had a knife and a gun when he murdered bank workers Anita Grace and Nita Smith. It also alleges the crime was carried out in an especially heinous, cruel manner that involved torture to the victims.

In the indictment, prosecutors say the crime carried out by Watts required substantial planning and premeditation. It does not specify whether he may have sought revenge against one of the victims, Anita Grace. Back in 2009, Grace told police Watts was cashing stolen checks, which sent him to prison. He got out just two weeks before the murders.

He's also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. A 38 caliber pistol was found on Watts after a high speed chase the night of the attempted robbery. Authorities say he was driving one of the victims' cars at the time.

Watts is not eligible for bond. He'll remain in custody of the United States Marshal until his formal arraignment.


The victim's families told News 3 Tuesday that their emotions are still raw, and this doesn't change the reality: two women's lives were cut short.


WSIL -- A Cairo man has been indicted in connection with a deadly attempted bank robbery.

James Nathaniel Watts, 29, was charged Tuesday with attempted armed bank robbery resulting in death and being a felon in possession of a weapon. 

Watts is accused of killing Anita Grace and Nita Smith, and injuring a third woman, during an attempted robbery at First National Bank in Cairo. 

Cairo Police were called to the bank May 15 for a report of a robbery in progress. When they arrived, officers discovered the three women with stab wounds in the bank's employee break room.

Watts was arrested later that evening after a high speed chase that ended on a railroad train trestle in Cairo. 

James N. Watts indictment

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