A 72-year-old man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for attempted bank robbery.
James Earl Green Jr. was charged in August 2020 for the crime that was perpetrated nearly a year before, in September 2019. He was convicted at trial in April this year.
U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix carried out his sentencing on July 21.
Evidence presented in court showed that Green attacked a First State Bank employee, Jill Beatty, while she was entering the bank at about 7:40 a.m. on September 24, 2019. He held a gun to the 60-year-old woman’s head and pushed her inside the bank.
Green held Beatty in the Abilene bank for about 20 minutes. He was seen on surveillance footage pacing back and forth.
At about 7:57 a.m., another bank employee entered the bank. Beatty struggled with the robber to protect her coworker. During the fight, Green struck Beatty on her head with his handgun and then fled the bank on foot without taking any money.
Authorities said he left his two duffel bags behind. They also said he appeared to have an identifiable limp.
After the attempted robbery incident, an anonymous tipster told the Abilene Police Department that a gold Cadillac had been parked across the street from the bank the morning before the robbery.
Upon a review of pulled surveillance video depicting the bank’s vicinity, law enforcement identified the vehicle as a four-door sedan with a missing front-right hub cap cover. A city employee narrowed down a list of more than 11,000 gold Cadillacs to match a gold Cadillac Green owned.
Officers reached out to a woman who knew Green in El Paso, where he lived, and she told them that the strides of the robber seen in the surveillance video were similar to Green’s.
She told officers he wore a prosthetic leg. She also gave officers a photo of Green’s Cadillac, which was gold in color with a missing front-right hub cap cover.
A DNA sample from one of the abandoned duffel bags matched a sample from Green. Data from his cell phone also placed him traveling to Abilene from El Paso days before the attempted bank robbery.
Investigators also placed his cell phone as returning from Abilene to El Paso immediately after the incident.
At the sentencing, one of the employees attacked during the attempted bank robbery said the incident left her with anxiety.
“Every single time I walk through the back door of my workplace, I clearly see the robber coming out of the bushes and holding his gun on me,” she said.
“I can still hear his voice telling me that he was going to kill me if I tried anything,” she continued. “I can clearly hear him say that if I tried to warn my co-worker, he would kill her and that it would be my fault. Even as time has passed, this crime is still so fresh on my mind, like it happened only yesterday.”
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Green had a prior conviction in Lubbock County for a 1998 aggravated robbery, a crime for which he was paroled in July 2010. Green was also a suspect in the robbing of two other banks, one in Abilene and one in Clyde.
The investigation of the September 2019 attempted bank robbery was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas and El Paso Field Offices, the Abilene Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Crime Laboratory.