Houston Bank Robber Handed Significant Sentence
HOUSTON – A 49-year-old Houston man has been ordered to federal prison for more than 21 years as a result of his convictions for two counts of bank robbery, one count of attempted bank robbery and one count of escape, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. In May 2016, a federal jury sitting in Houston convicted Henry Lee London Jr. following a three-day trial and approximately five hours of deliberation.
Today, U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon ordered he serve a total of 262 months in federal prison. The sentence included 240 months for the first bank robbery which will run concurrently to 60 months for the escape. He also received 22 months for each of the other two bank robberies which will served concurrently to each other but consecutive to the other term. The judge noted that London had two prior federal bank robbery convictions which made him a career offender.
“This is exactly the kind of criminal we are targeting with our collaborative Houston Law Enforcement Violent Crime Initiative announced yesterday,” said Martinez. “Reduction of violent crime is important to the community and this sentence reflects the severity of consequences to those that put our citizens at risk.”
During the trial, the jury heard that London escaped from the Leidel Sanction Center on Commerce Street in Houston on March 20, 2014, where he was serving the remainder of his federal sentence for the previous bank robberies. He was wearing a plain blue baseball hat, black shirt, a tan backpack and shoes. Shortly thereafter, a man wearing the same clothing robbed the BBVA Compass bank on 43rd Street in Houston. The robber handed a teller a demand note that read “This is a robbery give large bills.”
Four days later, a man wearing the same clothing and plain blue baseball hat attempted to rob an IBC bank on Katy Freeway in Houston. He was unsuccessful. The teller testified that she was trying to get the money but the robber became frustrated and left. Less than an hour later, the same man wearing the same clothes and plain blue baseball hat robbed the Comerica Bank on Highway 6 South in Houston.
The jury saw videos and photos from each of the robberies and heard testimony from 10 witnesses. Three of the witnesses knew London well from his personal life and were able to identify him in all of the robberies.
London’s defense did not dispute the fact that he escaped from the halfway house. They also did not dispute that the banks were robbed, but contended London was not the robber. The jury was not convinced and found him guilty on all counts.
He has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The FBI Bank Robbery Task Force which included the U.S. Marshals Service, sheriff’s offices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties and the Houston Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennie Basile and Jill Stotts are prosecuting the case.