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Cairo Remembers Women Killed During Botched Holdup

CAIRO, Ill. (AP) - Residents of a southern Illinois town are remembering two area women stabbed to death during a botched bank robbery. 

A local Baptist pastor in Cairo tells the (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan that Anita J. Grace and Nita J. Smith "won't be forgotten." Jimmy Ellis adds "the best parts of them will live on with each one of us." 

Authorities have charged 29-year-old James Watts in Thursday's holdup at a First National Bank branch.  He is believed to have stabbed the two victims along with a third woman who was critically hurt.  Watts was arrested following a high speed chase and stand off with police later in the evening on Friday.  He had only recently been released from prison.  

Cairo resident Joe Griggs knew both Smith and Grace. He says "you'd have to go a long way to find a better soul than those two people."

 

Ellis says the killings are an aberration for an otherwise caring community of 2,600 residents. He says the suspect "is not a representation of what our community is about." 

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