Twenty-eight-year-old Damarco Watts is charged with armed robbery. During opening statements, Morgan County state’s attorney Chris Reif played a surveillance video of the robbery showing Watts entering the bank and heading toward a back office while the other defendants held a teller at gun point and took money.
Watts’ attorney, Elliot Turpin of Carrollton, argued Watts was not a part of the plan to rob the bank and told jurors he didn’t point a gun at the teller.
Reif called bank employee Brent Brockhouse to the stand as the state’s first witness. He testified to Watts entering the bank, asking to use the bathroom, then heading toward Brockhouse’s office in an area in the back of the bank. Brockhouse said Watts pointed a gun at him and another employee, and demanded they lay on the floor while the co-defendants robbed the bank.
Morgan County Deputy Tom Keegan was called to the stand next. He described the scene during the high speed pursuit that followed the robbery which reached speeds of 120 miles per hour on Route 67. It ended with a foot pursuit in Manchester when the getaway car crashed. Keegan testified to finding a ski mask, two guns, and money in and around the vehicle.
Brockhouse’s cell phone was also found in the same garage Watts was eventually found after the foot chase.
The other defendants in this case have already pleaded guilty to armed robbery. Thirty-year-old Sterling Martin and 25-year-old Tiffany Oden have been sentenced to 18 and 12 years, respectively. Twenty-three-year-old Ashley Anderson is awaiting sentencing.
All the defendants are from St. Louis.
Sangamon County Judge John Madonia is presiding over the case.
The trial continues tomorrow we’ll pick up coverage during closing arguments later this week.