3 Houston men given lengthy prison sentences for bank robbery

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by khou.com staff

khou.com

Posted on August 1, 2011 at 3:08 PM

HOUSTON ‐ Three Houston men will be serving lengthy prison terms without parole for robbing a First National Bank last year, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced Monday.

Michael A. Wilbourn, 25, Michael J. Washington, 30, Ronald D. Thomas, 29, and Kenneth R. Randle, 23, robbed the bank on South Gessner Road October 14, 2010.

Wilbourn, Washington and Thomas received additional prison terms for their use of firearms during that bank robbery.

At a hearing held on Friday, U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon sentenced Wilbourn

to 97 months in prison for the bank robbery conviction to be followed by an additional 84 months for the use of the firearm during the robbery for a total sentence of 181 months.

Washington was sentenced to 150 months in prison for the bank robbery conviction to be followed by an additional 84 months for the use of the firearm during the robbery for a total sentence of 234 months.

Thomas will serve a total of 221 months in federal prison without parole ‐ 137 months for the bank robbery conviction to be followed by an additional 84 months for the use of the firearm during the robbery.

Randle, the unarmed get‐away car driver, was sentenced to 135 months in prison for the bank robbery conviction.

The court also ordered the defendants to pay a total of $4,735 in restitution to the bank which constitutes the total of unrecovered funds out of the more than $40,000 taken at gun point during the bank robbery.

Each defendant must also serve a four‐year term of post-imprisonment supervised release.

Prosecutors said all four defendants pleaded guilty for their roles in the robberies.

Prosecutors said Randle waited outside in the get‐away car, while Wilbourn, Washington and Thomas entered the bank and terrorized the three bank tellers with guns, verbal threats and physical assault and abuse to get the bank vault opened.

The men then stole more than $40,000 from the bank.

Upon leaving the bank, the four defendants changed cars. However, they were spotted by an HPD officer who chased them to a nearby apartment complex, where they attempted to flee.

Wilbourn and Washington broke into an occupied apartment and temporarily took two residents hostage before their capture.

The other two were captured after brief foot chases.

Officers recovered the three guns and all but about $4,735 of the stolen money.

During Friday’s sentencing hearing, each of the three bank tellers held hostage during the bank robbery testified regarding their treatment at the hands of the armed defendants who entered and robbed the bank.

With the exception of Randle, the get‐away driver who was not armed and did not enter the bank, each of the other three defendants received the maximum recommended federal guideline sentence which includes the court’s consideration of their "unnecessarily cruel" treatment of the bank tellers during the robbery and their extensive criminal history.

Randle was continued on bond pending an order to surrender upon designation of a Bureau of Prisons facility where he will serve his sentence.

The other three defendants have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.

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