It was a scheme concocted by a couple of teenagers to make some quick money.
It lead to the death of a 70-year-old bank guard.
And on Tuesday, one of those perpetrators, now 25, was sentenced to 87 years in federal prison.
Iralee French Jr. was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, where a jury last year found him guilty of bank robbery, attempted bank robbery, conspiracy and two counts of using a firearm in a crime of violence.
French and a co-defendant, Thirplus Moose, also now 25, robbed the now-closed UMB Bank branch at 7901 Wornall Road on Feb. 9, 2006. During that robbery, French was armed with a shotgun. They forced a teller at gunpoint to hand over about $8,200.
They tried to force her into the trunk of her car, but when she began screaming and crying, they left her behind and fled in her car.
They returned to the bank a few weeks later before it opened. This time they confronted bank guard Dwight Mayhugh inside the parking garage. Mayhugh was sitting in his vehicle when French shot him from close range. The robbers then forced Mayhugh into the bank, but after they were unable to gain access to any money they fled in Mayhugh’s vehicle, leaving him in the garage.
He died at a hospital the next day.
At trial, the defense presented testimony that Mayhugh died as a result of complications from his medical treatment and not as a result of the shotgun wounds to his neck and shoulder. The jury acquitted French of the more serious charge of using a firearm in a crime of violence resulting in death.
But U.S. District Judge Gary Fenner said Tuesday that French “shot to kill” that morning.
“You showed no regard for Mr. Mayhugh’s life in order to satisfy your selfish needs and desires,” Fenner said.
Defense attorney Steve Moss asked for a sentence of 42 years, citing French’s age at the time of the crime and the remorse he showed after his arrest. He also noted that Moose was looking at a sentence of only 22 to 25 years as a result of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
“He is not someone you need to lock up and throw away the key,” Moss argued. “Forty-two years is not a lenient sentence in any way.”
Acting U.S. Attorney David Ketchmark argued that French was the one who pulled the trigger and questioned whether the emotion he showed after his arrest was the result of remorse or the fact that he had been caught. Ketchmark asked the judge to sentence French to life in prison.
Before he was sentenced, French apologized to his family and to the Mayhugh family and said he was ready to accept his sentence.
“I’m not here to make excuses,” he said.
Moose is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.