Robber gets 35-year sentence for role in bank guard’s death

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a St. Louis man to 35 years in prison for his role in the killing of a bank security guard during a botched robbery at 7901 Wornall Road.

Thirplus Moose, 25, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy, armed bank robbery with forcible restraint and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in the 2006 death of Dwight Mayhugh Sr., a 70-year-old guard.

The 35-year sentence was the maximum possible under Moose’s plea agreement. Trial testimony revealed that Moose’s co-defendant, Iralee E. French Jr., 25, of Kansas City, fired the shotgun that mortally wounded Mayhugh. French was sentenced in June to 87 years in prison.

At Thursday’s hearing, Moose apologized to Mayhugh’s family but pleaded for a 25-year sentence, the bottom of his sentencing range.

“I was young when I took these actions and I’m very sorry about that,” Moose said.

Mayhugh’s son, Dwight W. Mayhugh Jr., reminded U.S. District Judge Gary Fenner that Moose’s actions had contributed to the death of a loving father, husband and solid member of the community.

Mayhugh Jr. said he missed his dad’s counsel when raising his daughters, now ages 10 and 12.

“I was looking forward to having my dad guide me as a father,” Mayhugh Jr. said. “Your actions took that away.”

Mayhugh Sr. died a day after being shot in the shoulder and the neck during the attempted robbery. Two men had wounded Mayhugh in the bank parking lot and then demanded that he give them money. They fled after learning that Mayhugh had no access to bank money.

Investigators had few leads until 2008, when a taxi driver told them he had picked up two men early the morning of the robbery and dropped them off near the bank.

Moose also admitted to robbing the same bank earlier in February, taking more than $8,000 from a teller who was arriving at work before 7 a.m.

Fenner said he was encouraged that Moose had participated in several education programs while being jailed during the case. Still, the judge said he found Moose’s decisions “extremely disturbing and horrendous.”

“You were obviously someone whose life was completely out of control and presented an extreme danger to society,” Fenner said.