Janesville59°

Fifth person sentenced for robbery

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Kevin Murphy/Special to the Gazette
May 9, 2008
— A Rockford, Ill., man convicted in a Footville bank robbery received a shortest prison sentence so far among those convicted in the case.

Donald Thompson, 21, was sentenced Thursday to 10 years and four months behind bars in the Nov. 9 robbery.


U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb said Thompson’s sentence is shorter than four of his co-defendants because Thompson:


-- Unlike co-defendants Matthew Evans and Curtis Seaberry didn’t run when police stopped the robbers’ car in Rock County.


-- Tried to talk Troy Thomas out of driving away from police at high speed.


-- Refused Evans’ bribe to falsely say Evans didn’t rob the bank.


-- Testified against Evans at trial.


Thompson, who had sold crack cocaine with Thomas, joined Thomas’ plan to rob the Mid-American Bank in Footville.


Thompson was the first of the four robbers to enter the bank. He carried an inoperable and unloaded firearm and went behind the teller counters with Seaberry to grab money and give it to Evans. Thomas, armed with a shotgun, watched from the lobby, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber said.


After the arrest of Thompson, Seaberry and Thomas, all of Rockford, and Skye Armbault, 21, Orfordville, Thompson was the first to tell authorities Evans also took part in the robbery, said Graber.


“That was important because at the time there was no other evidence that Evans was involved,” Graber said.


Thompson apologized in court Thursday, saying the helplessness he felt while sitting in jail for several months might be like the helplessness the bank employees felt during the robbery.


“I hope they are able to get over it,” he said.


Crabb said it was “very encouraging to hear” Thompson’s expression of empathy for others because it’s good indication that he may not re-offend after he serves his sentence. Thompson’s youth and lack of prior convictions are also positive signs that he will turn his life around, Crabb said.


Crabb also put Thompson on five years probation and made him responsible with his co-defendants for the $950 of the $5,400 taken in the robbery that wasn’t recovered.


Archambault, Thomas and Seaberry, like Thompson, all pled guilty but received longer prison sentences.


Sentencing for Evans, the only defendant to go to trial, is scheduled for June 6.



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