HOUSTON (Covering Katy News) – Guilty as charged is the verdict for the seven bank robbers who were busted following a July 2017 credit union heist on Cinco Ranch Boulevard. It took a federal jury less time to find them guilty than it took for the bandits to execute their bungled bank job and be carted off to the county clink on that summer day about one year ago.
They held up the First Community Credit Union on Cinco Ranch Boulevard near the Grand Parkway and today the jury deliberated for approximately two hours following a four-day trial before convicting Walter Freeman Jordan aka “Wacko,” 31, and Johnathon Nico Wise, 27, both of Houston, on Jan. 25, 2018.
Both were charged and convicted of aiding and abetting aggravated bank robbery. Jordan was also convicted of aiding and abetting the unlawful use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.
Five others – Jaylen Christine Loring, 22, Daryl Carlton Anderson, 33, Deandre Bendard Santee, 27, Raymond Demond Pace, 21, and Zelmer Samuel Bonner, 27, all of Houston, had pleaded guilty prior to trial.
Today, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison, who presided over the trial, threw the book at Jordan, giving him nearly 22 years in prison. A 262-month sentence was handed down for the bank robbery as well as another 84 months (nearly 17 years) for the firearms offense which must be served consecutively. That means Jordan has to finish serving the 262-month sentence before he can begin serving the 84-month sentence. That harsh sentence is not typical. Usually judges allow sentences to be served concurrently, or at the same time.
When sentences run consecutively, defendants have to finish serving the sentencefor one offense before they start serving the sentence for any other offense.
Wise received a ten-year sentence.
Both will also be required to serve a term of five years of supervised release following completion of the prison term.
Pace received a 50-month sentence for the underlying bank robbery, while Loring, Santee, Anderson, and Bonner were sentenced to 12, 105, 70 and 70, months, respectively. Pace and Bonner were also convicted on firearms charges and each received 84 months which must be served consecutively resulting in total sentences of 134 and 154 months, respectively.
At trial, the jury heard that at approximately 12:52 p.m. on July 25, 2017, a stolen black Toyota Tundra drove to the front of the First Community Credit Union located at 23120 Cinco Ranch Boulevard in Katy. Once there, Jordan, Bonner, and Pace entered the bank and ordered everyone to get on the ground. While inside, Jordan and Bonner jumped the teller counter and demanded credit union employees to open the teller drawers. When one of those employees did not comply quickly enough, Bonner punched the employee in the head while yelling “hurry up!”
Pace kept customers and employees on the ground during the robbery. Soon thereafter, he yelled, “the cops are down the street, let’s go!”
The robbers were communicating with the lookouts – Wise, Santee, Anderson, and Loring – outside of the credit union via cell phone during the crime.
The robbers returned to the Toyota Tundra and fled the scene along with three other vehicles – a silver Chevrolet Malibu, silver Nissan Rogue and a maroon Volkswagen Jetta. Loring was apprehended a short time later in the Malibu as was Anderson who was driving the Jetta. Shortly thereafter, officers also stopped the Rogue and arrested Santee and Wise.
Authorities pursued the Tundra for 19 miles, which was traveling at speeds up to 120 mph east on I-10. Authorities were eventually able to apprehend Pace, Bonner, and Jordan at the North Post Oaks Lofts apartment complex in Houston. Officers located a Springfield semi-automatic pistol from the Toyota Tundra as well as a Stoeger Cougar .40 Caliber semi-automatic pistol from inside the apartment where Jordan had been hiding.
During the trial, the jury heard from Loring and Anderson who testified about the robbery plan and what transpired. Additional testimony came from more than 10 officers as well as an expert who explained how the cell phones were identified and used during the crime.
The defense attempted to convince the jury that Jordan and Wise had been misidentified and had no knowledge of the robbery plan. They did not believe their claims and found them guilty as charged.
With the exception of Loring, who was permitted to remain on bond, all have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The case is the result of the Houston Law Enforcement Violent Crime Initiative created to proactively fight violent crime across the Greater Houston area.
The FBI and the Houston Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard D. Hanes and Heather Rae Winter are prosecuting the case.