Man Found Guilty of Bank Robberies Despite Insanity Plea
DALLAS, Texas — Darius Whetstone was found guilty of committing three armed bank robberies in June 2016. The decision came in a written opinion issued one week after a two-day bench trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn. Whetstone had agreed that he robbed the three banks, but asked the court to find him innocent by reason of insanity because he was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions at the time. The court found that, though Whetstone had proved that he suffered from a severe mental disease or defect when he committed the robberies, he failed to show that he was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his acts.
According to the court’s findings and evidence presented at trial, Whetstone entered a Capital One bank branch in Dallas on June 2, 2016, brandished a knife, and forced employees to turn over cash from one of the tellers. Whetstone used the money from the first robbery to purchase a variety of goods, including two duffel bags and a car that, on June 7, 2016, he used to rob two more Dallas banks in the same manner as the first. The second bank Whetstone robbed was a Bank or America branch. The third was a BB&T branch.
In its written decision, the court indicated that “at the time of each offense, Whetstone established by clear and convincing evidence that he suffered from a severe mental disease or defect.” But the court also found that Whetstone “did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that he was unable to appreciate that his acts were wrong when he committed each offense,” and specifically that “at the time he committed each robbery, Whetstone knew it was against the law to rob a bank and that bank robbery was wrong.” Therefore, the court concluded, “Whetstone was not insane under 18 U.S.C. § 17 when he committed the bank robberies.”
Whetstone’s sentence will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case.
The Feberal Bureau of Investigation investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Bunch and Russell Fusco are prosecuting the case.