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Man sentenced to life for 2 deaths in botched bank robbery

BENTON, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois man has been sentenced to life in prison for fatally stabbing two bank workers and critically wounding a third during a botched robbery.

James Nathaniel Watts received the punishment from a federal judge Thursday. The 32-year-old Watts pleaded guilty in March to attempted armed bank robbery resulting in death and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The botched holdup occurred in May 2014 at the First National Bank branch in Cairo, Illinois. Authorities say Watts was armed with a gun when he confronted three female employees as they emerged from the bank after closing.

Fifty-two-year-old Anita Grace and 52-year-old Nita Jo Smith were killed. A 23-year-old woman survived.

The full sentence for Watts is life in prison without parole, plus 10 years.

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