Two Houston men convicted in bank robbery

Houston, Dec 3 : Justin Devon Hayes, 23, and Demontray Ward, 21, both of Houston, have entered guilty pleas to aggravated bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

On April 26, 2013, Hayes, Ward, and a third, now deceased man, robbed the Regions Bank at 7044 East FM 1960 in Humble. Ward was armed with a shotgun, while the other two had pistols. All the weapons were loaded. T

he defendants demanded money, threatened the tellers, and became agitated when they realized the vault was on a 10-minute timer.

A Houston Police officer entered the bank but was disarmed by Ward. Outside, another officer witnessed the three men leave the bank and enter an SUV.

He attempted to confront them, but the vehicle moved towards him. Seeing a muzzle of a shotgun pointed at him, the officer fired, and the driver was shot and killed.

Ward and Hayes were then taken into custody.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore, who accepted the guilty pleas, has set sentencing for spring 2014, at which time they face up to 25 years for the bank robbery, as well as a consecutive seven years for the firearms charge.

Both men will remain in custody pending their respective hearings.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI Bank Robbery Task Force, which is composed of personnel from the FBI, Houston Police Department, and Harris County Sheriff's Office. Assistant United States Attorney Jennie Basile is prosecuting the case.

--IBNS (Posted on 03-12-2013)

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