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Local News

Harrah's casino murder suspect refused to show up to court: records

Robert A. Watson
Robert A. Watson

A 25-year-old man charged with fatally stabbing and robbing a man at Harrah’s Casino hotel in Joliet refused to appear in court this week, records and an official said.

On Tuesday, Robert Watson, 25, refused to appear in court before Will County judge David Carlson, according to court records. 

Watson is being held at the Will County jail on charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery and robbery.  

On March 25, Watson stabbed 76-year-old Emanuel M. Burgrino 26 times during a robbery on the fifth floor of the hotel in downtown Joliet, police said.

Officers apprehended Watson the following day at the downtown public library, police said.

Carlson handed down an order for the Will County Sheriff’s Office to use “any and all reasonable means” to transport Watson to court on Wednesday for his arraignment on a pending bill of indictment. 

Will County State’s Attorney spokeswoman Carole Cheney said she didn’t know why Watson refused to go to court Tuesday. Kathy Hoffmeyer, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, did not respond to calls and messages Thursday.

Watson appeared in court Wednesday in the custody of deputies, according to court records. He pleaded not guilty.

Harrah's general manager Randy Conroy said the incident was “tragic and senseless,” and changes to hotel's security measures are being planned.

"We're putting together our action plan, and we will socialize that when it's done," Conroy said.

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