District Man Enters Plea Of Nolo Contendere In Bank Robbery Case-Defendant Arrested Shortly After The Crime-
WASHINGTON – John Morris, 64, of Washington, D.C., entered a plea of nolo contendere today to a charge of bank robbery while armed, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Morris entered the plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Under a nolo contendere plea, a defendant is convicted of the offense, accepts responsibility, and agrees that the government could prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the defendant in such a plea does not admit to the facts of the case. The Honorable Richard W. Roberts scheduled sentencing for June 11, 2013. Morris faces a statutory maximum of 25 years in prison.
According to the government’s evidence, just before noon on March 22, 2012, Morris walked into a TD Bank in the 1200 block of First Street NE. He was wearing a black jacket, black pants, black shoes, sunglasses and a cap. He demanded money from two bank tellers, claiming that he had a bomb. The tellers turned over about $3,700. Morris left a bag behind, which he claimed had the bomb, and warned that he could remotely control its detonation.
Two officers with the Metropolitan Police Department were in the area at the time of the robbery, and they quickly spotted Morris across the street from the bank. A third MPD officer arrived on the scene, and Morris told him, “Yeah, I did it. It’s rough out here.” Morris, who at the time of his arrest was dressed in a black jacket, black pants, black shoes, sunglasses and a cap, also could be seen clearly on video surveillance photographs of the robbery.
The stolen money was recovered after the robbery. Morris’s bomb threat led to an emergency response that included the evacuation of the bank. The bag left inside the bank contained an alarm clock.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director in Charge Parlave and Chief Lanier thanked those who investigated the case from the MPD and FBI’s Washington Field Office, including the FBI/MPD Violent Crimes Task Force. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Stephanie Brooker, former Chief of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, and Paralegal Specialist Jeannette Litz. Finally, they expressed appreciation to Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine K. Connelly, who is prosecuting the matter.