Violent Armed Bank Robber Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison

Admitted to Murdering an Accomplice,
Robbed the Same Prince George’s County Bank Twice After an Unsuccessful Robbery

April 18, 2011

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams sentenced Anthony D. Nelson, age 27, of Washington, D.C. and Suitland, Maryland, today to 50 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for armed bank robbery and two counts of using a gun during a crime of violence. Judge Williams also entered an order requiring Nelson to pay restitution of $124,985.

The sentence 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 sentence should prevent Anthony D. Nelson from committing any more violence and mayhem in Maryland,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “I want to thank the dogged investigators and prosecutors, without whose work the perpetrators might never have been held accountable.”

According to his plea agreement, Nelson’s girlfriend, Shameka Cooper, worked as a teller at the Bank of America branch in the 5800 block of Silver Hill Road in Forestville, Maryland. Cooper provided Nelson with information regarding operations and security at the Bank of America branch where she worked. On January 24, 2005, Nelson and a co-conspirator drove to the bank at closing time. As Cooper and another teller were leaving the bank, Nelson ran to them pointing a handgun. The other teller, however, was able to pull the door closed prior to Nelson reaching it.

Nelson and co-defendant Tyrone Lockhart spent the morning of February 11, 2005 at Cooper’s apartment, after she went to work at the bank. Lockhart bought marijuana from his cousin and his cousin’s friend, Richard Botchway. Thereafter, Lockhart and Nelson drove together to the bank. Nelson was armed with a gun. As they had planned, Nelson accosted Cooper as she returned to the bank from her lunch break and pretended to force her into the bank while Lockhart acted as the getaway driver and lookout. Inside the bank, Nelson pointed his gun and robbed Cooper and the other teller of approximately $98,271, then locked the two tellers in the bank vault. Nelson and Lockhart drove away.

Nelson and Lockhart met the cousin and Botchway and got into Botchway’s car. Botchway was driving and Nelson was in a rear seat. 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 cash stolen from the bank.

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, the cousin and Lockhart got out and ran away. As Nelson attempted to gather clothing and other evidence from the bank robbery from the back seat of the car, a hotel employee questioned him about the car blocking the hotel driveway. Nelson ran away in a different direction. The hotel employee discovered Botchway’s body in the car.

On the morning of April 28, 2005, Nelson took Cooper’s key to the bank, where she still worked, and attempted a third robbery of the bank. Nelson and two co-conspirators drove a stolen minivan to the bank. Nelson and a co-conspirator used the key to let themselves into the bank. Nelson pointed a handgun at two tellers. Nelson and the co-conspirators stole approximately $26,714, then drove away and abandoned the stolen car. Nelson spent part of the stolen money on jewelry for his girlfriend.

Tyrone Lockhart, age 30, formerly of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty to his participation in the February 11, 2005 robbery and on April 13, 2011 was sentenced to 148 months in prison. Shameka Cooper, age 28, of Suitland, pleaded guilty on August 2, 2010, to conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery and to bank fraud. Judge Williams has scheduled her sentencing for May 6, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, the 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 prosecuted the case.

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