BENTON — A federal judge has delayed by more than a year and a half the trial of a southern Illinois man who prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against in the killings of two bank employees.
U.S. District Judge Phil Gilbert has set James Watts’ trial for Jan. 23, 2017, with jury selection happening about two weeks earlier. Court records show the death penalty phase will follow if the jury returns a guilty verdict.
The Southern Illinoisan reports that federal prosecutors believe the trial will last only five to seven days. Watts is accused of fatally stabbing the two workers and critically injuring a third employee during the botched bank robbery last May in Cairo.
The president of the bank branch and another employee were killed in the attempted robbery.