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Violent Armed Bank Robber Pleads Guilty and Admits to the February 2005 Murder of Riverdale Man

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2011

Greenbelt, Maryland - Anthony D. Nelson, age 27, of Washington, D.C. and Suitland, Maryland, pleaded guilty yesterday to armed bank robbery and two counts of using and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. As part of his plea, Nelson also admitted shooting and killing Richard Botchway, of Riverdale, Maryland, on February 11, 2005.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Interim Chief Mark Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Chief James Craze of the Greenbelt Police Department and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks.

“This conviction should prevent Anthony D. Nelson from committing any more violence and mayhem in Prince George’s County,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

Interim Chief Mark Magaw stated, “We value our partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies because they allow us to bring in the resources of the federal government to assist us with our most serious cases. The residents of Prince George’s County will now be a lot safer because Anthony Nelson, a violent bank robber, will be spending a very long time in prison due to this plea agreement.”

According to Nelson’s guilty plea, he lived with his long-time girlfriend, who worked as a teller at the Bank of America (BOA or Bank) branch in the 5800 block of Silver Hill Road in Forestville, Maryland. This particular branch was a drive-through service center that did not have lobby service for customers.

According to his plea agreement, sometime prior to January 24, 2005, Nelson and his girlfriend discussed robbing the Bank where she worked. On January 24, 2005, Nelson and a co-conspirator drove to BOA at closing time and as his girlfriend and another teller were leaving the Bank, Nelson, wearing a ski mask, ran at them brandishing a handgun. The other teller was able to pull the door closed prior to Nelson reaching it.

On the morning of February 11, 2005, Nelson and co-conspirator Tyrone Lockhart were at Nelson’s girlfriend’s apartment discussing a second planned robbery of BOA. Late in the morning, Lockhart called his cousin, Malcolm Carroll, who along with his longtime friend, Richard Botchway, met Lockhart at the apartment. Nelson had met Carroll before but did not know Botchway.

Nelson and Lockhart left the apartment to rob the Bank. Nelson knew that no security guards were inside and only his girlfriend and another teller were at the Bank that day. As they had planned, Nelson accosted his girlfriend as she returned to the Bank from her lunch break and pretended to force her into the Bank while Lockhart acted as getaway driver and lookout. Inside the Bank, Nelson brandished a firearm and robbed his girlfriend and the other teller of approximately $98,271.08 in cash, then locked the two tellers in the bank vault. Nelson and Lockhart then left the area.

Nelson and Lockhart then met Carroll and Botchway and got into Botchway’s car. Botchway was driving and Nelson was in the rear seat on the passenger side. For several hours, the four men drove around the Maryland and D.C. area as Nelson and Lockhart were looking for a hotel and some girls in order to have a party using the proceeds from the bank robbery.

Around 3:15 p.m., Botchway drove onto Golden Triangle Drive in Greenbelt, which led to a hotel. Botchway wanted Nelson and Lockhart to get out of the car so that Botchway could pick up his girlfriend. As they pulled onto Golden Triangle Drive, Nelson pulled out a handgun and fired it once into the back of Botchway’s head, killing him instantly. With the car still running, Carroll and Lockhart got out and ran in the direction of the Greenbelt Metro station, while Nelson attempted to quickly gather the evidence from the bank robbery that remained inside the car, including a pair of grey sweat pants that Nelson had worn at the time of the robbery. As he was getting items from the back seat of the car, a hotel employee questioned him about the car blocking the hotel driveway. Nelson ran away and the hotel employee discovered Botchway’s body inside the car. DNA later collected from the waistband of the sweat pants found in the car matched Nelson’s and pieces of the videotape that Nelson had taken from security cameras at the Bank during the robbery were also found in the car.

On the morning of April 28, 2005, Nelson took his girlfriend’s key to the Bank, where she still worked, and left the apartment that they shared to attempt a third robbery of BOA. Nelson and two co-conspirators drove a stolen minivan to BOA and Nelson and a co-conspirator let themselves into the Bank, using the key Nelson had taken from his girlfriend. Nelson brandished a handgun at the two tellers who were inside the Bank. The robbers attempted to obtain the security tapes again but the teller was unable to eject the tapes from the recorder. Nelson and the co-conspirators robbed the tellers of approximately $26,714, then drove to a nearby neighborhood and abandoned the stolen car. Nelson spent a portion of the proceeds from the third robbery on jewelry for his girlfriend.

Nelson faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison on the bank robbery, and a maximum of life in prison on each count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, with a mandatory minimum term of seven years in prison for a first conviction and a mandatory minimum term of 25 years in prison for a second conviction. The government and the defendant are recommending a sentence of 50 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, has scheduled sentencing for April 18, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. As part of his plea, Nelson is also required to pay restitution of $124,985.

Lockhart pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery and weapons charges and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Williams on April 13 at 9:30 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Prince George’s County Police Department, the Greenbelt Police Department and the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Sandra Wilkinson and Robert K. Hur, who are prosecuting the case.

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