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Cairo bank robbery suspect held without bond

Staff report

James Watts, 29, of Cairo, Illinois, was ordered to be held without bond on charges that he illegally possessed a firearm, according to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

Watts was charged in federal court Friday in a criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The complaint alleged that Watts illegally possessed a .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol on Thursday, the day police say he attempted to rob the First National Bank in Cairo.

The complaint states that the firearm was found in Watts' possession after a high-speed chase in Cairo. He was allegedly driving the stolen car of a bank employee. During the attempted robbery, two employees were killed and one was critically injured. Those events remain under investigation, according to the attorney general.

During the proceedings in the U.S. District Court in Benton, Illinois, Watts waived his preliminary and detention hearings and was returned to the U.S. Marshals Service, where will detain him without bond or the possibility of release, according to the Department of Justice.

Under federal law, prosecutors have 30 days from the filing of the complaint to seek an indictment from a federal grand jury. If convicted of the firearm offense, Watts faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release, according to the news release.

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