Suspect in deadly botched holdup headed to court

BENTON, Ill. (AP) - A convict suspected in the stabbing deaths of two southern Illinois bank employees during a botched holdup is expected to learn if he's eligible for bond on a related federal weapons count.

Twenty-nine-year-old James Watts of Cairo is scheduled for a detention hearing Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Benton. He's charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Authorities arrested Watts last Thursday, hours after the holdup at the First National Bank branch in Cairo. The branch's president, Anita Jo Grace of Olive Branch, and teller Nita Jo Smith, both died. A third worker also was stabbed but has been released from the hospital.

The funerals of Grace and Smith will also be held Tuesday.

Watts isn't charged in the robbery or the deaths.

His public defender hasn't returned telephone messages seeking comment.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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