Serial bank robber gets 40 years in prison

August 21, 2008 3:39:16 PM PDT
Benjamin Sutton III has been sentenced to 500 months in prison in connection with the armed bank robberies of two different Wells Fargo Bank branches in the northeast area of Houston, United States Attorney Don DeGabrielle announced today. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $25,424. A federal grand jury returned an indictment against both Sutton and Paul Samuel Manning on Dec. 13, 2007, charging them with aggravated bank robbery and use of a firearm in connection with the bank robbery. Sutton's charges arose out of a Nov. 26, 2007, robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank branch located at 3601 Eastex Freeway in Houston. During this robbery, Sutton entered the bank branch, placed a firearm to the head of a bank security guard and then demanded money from bank tellers. After receiving the money, Sutton fled the bank branch.

Both Sutton and Manning were also charged for a Dec. 4 robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank branch located at 3434 Tidwell in Houston. During this robbery, Sutton placed a firearm to the abdomen of a bank security guard and demanded money from bank tellers while Manning assisted in the robbery. Afterwards, Sutton and Manning fled to the parking lot and attempted to car-jack a sport utility vehicle from a woman and child, during which a gunshot was heard in the parking lot. When Sutton and Manning were unable to drive the sport utility vehicle, the pair turned to a man driving a pickup truck and car-jacked his vehicle. The truck was later found burned a short distance away from the bank.

Sutton pleaded guilty to the charges Feb. 6, 2008. His sentence reflects a total of 360 months for the firearms charges related to the bank robberies (60 and 300, respectively) and 140 months for the bank robbery charges. All terms are to be served consecutively.

Manning pleaded guilty Feb. 20, 2008, and was also sentenced today. He received 123 months (63 months for the bank robbery and 60 months on the related firearms charge), five years of supervised release following completion of that sentence and $7,066 in restitution.

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