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Press Release

Gadsden Man Sentenced To 17 1/2 Years In Prison For 2008 Bank Robbery

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced a Gadsden man to 17 years and six months in prison for his role in the 2008 robbery of the Wachovia Bank in Lenlock, Ala., announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr.

A federal jury in July convicted MARCUS TYSHUN PORTER, 33, of joining in a conspiracy and acting as a lookout during the July 16, 2008, Wachovia Bank robbery. U.S. District Judge Abdul K. Kallon sentenced Porter to prison and ordered him to pay $277,773 restitution to the bank.

Two of Porter’s co-conspirators, WILLIS LEACH, 32, of Gadsden, and JESSE KEY, 43, of Birmingham, pleaded guilty to robbery charges in June. Key also pleaded guilty to carjacking. A third man, GABRIEL RICE, 25, of Gadsden, was charged and pleaded guilty to the robbery and carjacking in 2008.

Immediately after robbing the bank, Key and Rice forced two women at gunpoint to drive them back to Gadsden, where they met Porter and split proceeds of the robbery.

In October, Judge Kallon sentenced Key to 14 years, six months in prison, and Leach to five years and 10 months in prison. In 2009, U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn sentenced Rice to 17 years in prison.

“The last of the men responsible for these violent crimes is finally on his way to prison," Vance said. “This case is part of a larger investigation involving a string of bank robberies occurring in Gadsden and the surrounding area since 2007. The FBI and the entire Etowah County law enforcement community have continued to work over the past five years to solve these crimes,” she said.

The FBI investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney L. James Weil Jr. and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney E. Wilson Hunter prosecuted it.

Updated March 19, 2015