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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD



Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html



APRIL 13, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


NIXA MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS

FOR BANK ROBBERY


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Nixa, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for robbing Great Southern Bank in Springfield.


              Gary Lee Graves, Jr., 31, of Nixa, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr this morning to 15 years and eight months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Graves to pay $4,191 in restitution. Graves was sentenced as a career offender.


             “Today’s sentence sends a clear message that we are serious about investigating and vigorously prosecuting violent crime,” Wood said. “This should serve as a deterrent to other would-be bank robbers.”


             Co-defendant Russell Lwayne Beaird, 30, of Springfield, was sentenced on Jan. 23, 2007, to five years and three months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Beaird to pay $4,191 in restitution.


             Both Graves and Beaird pleaded guilty to the bank robbery. Graves and Beaird entered the Great Southern Bank branch at 3961 S. Campbell Ave., at about 1 p.m. on July 20, 2006. Both Graves and Beaird had panty hose pulled over their faces during the robbery, and Beaird was carrying an object that appeared to be a small handgun. Graves and Beaird jumped over the teller counter and confronted four bank employees who were behind the counter. Beaird demanded the employees give him money and pointed the object that appeared to be a handgun directly at one of the female bank employees. Graves and Beaird took money out of separate teller drawers, jumped back over the teller counter, and left the bank.


            This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas C. Bunch. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html