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Four plead guilty to area bank robberies

POSTED: January 4, 2018 6:00 p.m.
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Bank robbery can be a federal offense and often brings in the FBI.

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Four people have pleaded guilty and another has been indicted for their roles in three armed robberies of a Wells Fargo Bank in Savannah and a SunTrust Bank in Garden City.

Javel Roberts, 17, of Valdosta entered a guilty plea Dec. 14 before Senior U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. for the armed robbery of the SunTrust Bank in Garden City on Sept. 7 and for brandishing a firearm during the bank robbery.

In addition to the SunTrust Bank robbery, Roberts was charged with the armed robberies of the Wells Fargo Bank at 10422 Abercorn St. in Savannah on July 25 and Aug. 8.

Although a juvenile under federal law, the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted Roberts as an adult. He faces up to life imprisonment.

Roberts’ guilty plea follows that of India Janette Henderson, 31, and Ira King, 39, both of Savannah, and both of whom pleaded guilty before Moore on Nov. 28 to aiding and abetting the SunTrust armed robbery. Both will face up to 25 years in prison.

Jamal Henderson, 30, of Savannah previously pleaded guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun and faces up to 10 years in prison.

Oraefein Jabre King, 20, of Savannah was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, on Dec. 12. King was charged in an eight-count indictment by a federal grand jury in Savannah with conspiring to rob the Wells Fargo Bank and SunTrust Bank, aiding and abetting the armed bank robberies committed on July 25, Aug. 8 and Sept. 7, aiding and abetting the carrying of a firearm during the bank robberies, and unlawfully transferring a handgun to a juvenile.

If convicted, King faces no less than 57 years in prison and up to life imprisonment.

"Our office will aggressively prosecute those who commit violent crimes in our neighborhoods and anyone who aids and abets them," U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine said. "Those who think they may avoid federal prosecution because of their youth, let this prosecution serve notice."

Christine emphasized that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilty. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"It very disconcerting that anyone would brandish a weapon during a bank robbery, let alone a 17-year-old youth," said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. "The disregard for employees and customers is reprehensible. These arrests and prosecution of this case demonstrate the determination of the FBI Southeast Georgia Violent Crime Task Force and its local law enforcement partners to make our community a safer place."

Assistant United States Attorney Chris Howard is prosecuting these cases for the United States.

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