Guilty plea entered in bank robbery case

Otha Don Watkins, III, 35, of Cairo, on Jan. 23 pled guilty in United States District Court in Benton to assisting James Nathanial Watts in the May 15, 2014, attempted armed robbery of the First National Bank in Cairo.

The guilty plea was reported by Donald S. Boyce, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. 

During that attempted robbery, long-time bank employees Anita Grace and Nita Jo Smith were killed and a third employee was seriously injured.

In addition to that crime, Watkins also pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI during the investigation of the attempted bank robbery, possessing a stolen firearm and conspiring with Watts to commit robberies that interfered with interstate commerce. 

The conspiracy included both the attempted robbery of the First National Bank and the May 2014 armed robbery of over $12,000 from a McDonald’s restaurant in Charleston, Mo.

James Watts previously pled guilty to the attempted bank robbery and was sentenced in May 2017 to life in prison plus 10 years.

Sentencing for Watkins was set for March 21, 2018. Watkins is already serving a 155-month federal prison sentence relating to the armed robbery of another McDonald’s restaurant in Cape Girardeau in October 2014. 

Watkins was returned to the custody of the United States Marshal to await sentencing in this case.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Illinois State Police with the assistance of numerous other law enforcement agencies in Illinois and Missouri.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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