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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

James Nathaniel Watts Denied Bond On Federal Firearm Charge

James Nathaniel Watts, 29, of Cairo, Illinois, appeared in United States District Court in Benton and was ordered held without bond on charges that he illegally possessed a firearm, Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced.

Watts was charged in federal court on Friday, May 16th 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 May 15th and that the firearm was found in his possession following a high-speed chase in Cairo during which Watts was driving the stolen car of an employee of the First National Bank in Cairo, which had been the scene of an attempted robbery earlier that day. During the attempted robbery, two employees were killed and one was critically wounded. Those events remain under investigation.

At the proceeding, Watts waived his preliminary and detention hearings and was again remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal where he will be held without bond or the possibility of release. Under federal law, prosecutors have 30 days from the filing of the complaint within which to seek an indictment from a Federal Grand Jury. Watts will remain in the Marshal’s custody pending action by a Grand Jury. No court proceedings are scheduled until that time.

Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.

If convicted of the firearm offense, Watts faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years of supervised release to follow any term of incarceration imposed.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James M. Cutchin.

Updated February 19, 2015