District Attorney's Office


  

Conasauga Judicial Circuit of Georgia




   Serving Murray & Whitfield Counties

BANK ROBBER SENTENCED TO 60 YEARS

April 18, 2019 (Dalton) – James G. Crick (63), formerly of 1383 Presley Road, entered a guilty plea today to armed robbery and two counts of aggravated assault arising out of his robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank, 2114 Cleveland Highway, on October 19, 2017. Superior Court Judge William T. Boyett sentenced Crick per a negotiated plea agreement to serve 20 years without the possibility of parole on the armed robbery plus 20 years’ probation on each aggravated assault, all consecutive, for a total of 60 years. Crick was scheduled to select a jury and go to trial on Monday, April 22nd, and was facing a sentence of life without parole due to a murder conviction from Christian County, Kentucky in 1973. The prior conviction would have triggered the maximum sentence under Georgia’s “two strikes” law. Crick was still under life-time parole from Kentucky at the time of the robbery. Assistant District Attorney Ben Kenemer handled the prosecution for the State. Crick was represented by Blake Skipper and Andrew Powell of the Public Defender’s Office.

On October 19, 2017, Crick entered the Wells Fargo bank with a pistol which he pointed specifically at two bank employees as he demanded that money be placed in a bag that he had with him. Crick took approximately thirteen-thousand dollars ($13,000) and fled the bank but was apprehended within minutes by quick acting deputies of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office. The patrol officers, including Deputy Shawn Giles who placed Crick under arrest, had Crick in custody before detectives or the agents of the F.B.I. could even be called to the scene. At the time of his arrest, Crick still had the firearm and the money, the wrappers around which were signed by the bank teller, and was still wearing the same clothing as seen in the bank surveillance video. Detective Chris Guay, also of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office, led the local investigation, interviewed witnesses at the bank and collected evidence including the bank surveillance video which was recorded on new equipment in high definition.

The case took an interesting turn when Federal prosecutors picked it up based on Wells Fargo being a Federally insured bank. Frequently, defendant receive longer sentences and serve more time before being released than in state prosecutions, but this was not the case with Crick because of Georgia’s tough “two strikes” law which requires anyone convicted of a second serious violent felony to serve life without parole and requires any prison time ordered on even a first serious violent felony to be served without parole. Based on Federal sentencing guidelines, Crick entered a guilty plea in Federal Court on March 15, 2018 and received a sentenced of 114 months (9.5 years) for bank robbery and for use of a firearm during a felony. Crick actually received more time on the firearm charge than on the robbery under Federal guidelines.

District Attorney Bert Poston, Assistant District Attorney Ben Kenemer, and Detective Chris Guay attended the plea and sentencing in Federal Court. No one, including the local victims, were satisfied with the result which was below the minimum of ten-years in Georgia for a first time armed robbery even by a defendant with no prior criminal history. Crick was a convicted murderer and while that crime occurred decades ago when Crick was a young adult, everyone involved felt like a stronger sentence was needed. State prosecution was still possible in the case because Constitutionally, double jeopardy does not exist between two sovereignties, being the State and Federal Governments and because Georgia law does not bar successive prosecutions where different crimes are alleged. Case law from the Georgia Supreme Court existed which held that armed robbery under State law was a separate and distinct crime from bank robbery under Federal law. After researching the law, and consulting with victims, Mr. Kenemer pressed on with the local prosecution. Defense counsel filed a motion seeking to bar the prosecution on double-jeopardy grounds but that motion was denied by Judge Boyett on January 23rd and the case was scheduled for trial.

There were a number of victims in the case, including two which Crick pointed the firearm directly at and several more who were in apprehension of being shot as he brandished the loaded weapon generally in the bank. All of the victims were consulted throughout the process. They agreed with the State prosecution after the Federal plea and agreed to the negotiated plea agreement. While Crick was spared a sentence of life without parole, at his age and given his current state of health, it is likely that the twenty years without parole will amount to a life sentence anyway. Given that, everyone agreed that a guilty plea was better than putting everyone through a jury trial under the circumstances. Per District Attorney Poston, “I want to commend Ben Kenemer and Chris Guay for all of the work they put into this case and for pressing on with the local prosecution even after the Federal case was resolved in the U.S. District Court in Rome. It would have been much easier to drop the State case after the Federal conviction but their extra effort in the case insured that justice was achieved in full for the victims of this violent crime and that the community will be protected from Mr. Crick in the future.”


James G. Crick, 10-19-2017



Bert Poston
District Attorney
Conasauga Judicial Circuit


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Bert Poston,
District Attorney


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