'I killed that woman': Horrifying details of Cairo, Ill. bank robbery, slayings unveiled


by KMOV.com staff


Posted on July 29, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 2 at 10:06 PM

CAIRO, Ill. (KMOV.com) - New details have been released about an attempted bank robbery and murder that occurred at a bank in Cairo, Ill.

James Watts, 29, is accused of entering the First National Bank of Cairo through a side door on May 15 at 5:15 p.m.  According to police, Watts was armed with a knife and a handgun for an armed robbery. During the robbery, Watts allegedly stabbed three employees, fatally wounding two and critically injuring another. Police said Watts was later tracked down in a car that was owned by one of the women.

It is also believed Watts may have had help during the robbery. The FBI says they saw Watts talking on a two-way radio on bank surveillance video. The radio was later found inside Watts' alleged getaway car. 

Some details of the crime became public after a judge unsealed a warrant. The warrant describes the crime in detail and also contains an alleged confession from Watts.

According to the warrant, Watts forced three female employees, who were leaving the bank, back inside the building. Once inside the building, Watts slashed the throats of all three women. Authorities said he stabbed one of the employees 50 times.

The blood of one the victims was on Watts, so authorities received permission to collect dried blood and other DNA samples from him so it could be compared to the victims’ DNA.

During his standoff with police, Watts allegedly asked if the victims were dead. Police said the victims were not dead, but Watts responded by saying “Yes they are. I made sure of it.”

Watts also called his mother during the standoff where he allegedly said “I killed that woman.”

If Watts is convicted, he could face the death penalty.


Cairo is located in southern Ill. approximately 150 miles from St. Louis.