Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
1/27/2004 6:59:25 AM
The last of four bank robbery defendants was sentenced Friday to more than three decades in prison for his role in one of the most violent bank robbery sprees in recent New Jersey history, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.
U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson ordered 34-year-old Ronald Blackwell, a/k/a "Spigg-Nice," and a former member of the Lost Boyz rap group, to serve a federal prison sentence of 37 years. Judge Thompson also ordered Blackwell to pay $994,478 in joint restitution with his three co-defendants who were sentenced on Oct. 14, 2003. Co-defendants Lacy Goggans, 33, Ryan Washington, 31, and Trenell Coleman, 24, all of Queens, N.Y., are currently serving federal prison sentences of 594 months, 619 months, and 572 months, respectively. Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Under Sentencing Guidelines, defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all of that time.
(Because of the late sentencing on Friday and the Monday federal holiday, this release is just going out today.)
On April 7, 2003, a jury found that between December 2000 and April 16, 2002, the four defendants conspired to commit 10 bank robberies throughout Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, and Monmouth Counties. The jury additionally found that the four attempted to rob the Roma Federal Savings Bank in Trenton shortly before they were apprehended by members of the FBI and the New Jersey State Police on April 16, 2002. Each of the four defendants was also found guilty of using and carrying firearms in relation to these crimes of violence. Goggans, Coleman and Washington were additionally convicted of being felons in illegal possession of firearms. The trial before Judge Thompson lasted for seven weeks.
During the trial, testimony from customers and employees described the robberies as what is known as "takeover" robberies in which two men, armed with handguns, took control of the entire bank, herding the employees and customers at gun-point into a confined area within the bank. According to testimony, the robbers then rifled the teller drawers, penetrated the cash vaults, and stole more than $1 million. Testimony also described that in seven of the robberies, the defendants absconded with the bank surveillance videotapes. Customers and employees of several of the robberies testified that they were robbed of their personal belongings as well.
Testimony disclosed that through the joint investigation by the FBI and New Jersey State Police, along with local police departments, investigators learned that in addition to the armed robbers inside the banks, the conspirators included getaway drivers and lookouts, capable of communicating with the robbers inside the banks via walkie-talkie. The evidence additionally revealed that the robbers used a radio scanner to monitor police activity and getaway cars stolen from New York City, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Treby Williams.
*Thanks to KPR-428 for the source.