Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - June 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company
Federal judge delays sentencing of bank robbers
Houston County Courier - June 2009
By Daphne Hereford
TYLER - A federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas filed orders to delay sentencing of the two men convicted of robbing Citizens National Bank in Sept. 22, 2007.
According to news reports, US District Judge Michael Schneider was originally scheduled to sentence Derrick Ban Hodges, 34, and his half brother Paul Edward Thomas, 40, on Thursday, June 18.
The order filed by the judge on Wednesday, June 17 postpones the sentencing until Sept. 10.
The men were convicted by a federal jury in Tyler on 18 felony charges in September 2008 that included conspiracy, five bank robbery charges, 11 charges of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence and one count of discharging an assault rifle.
The men were convicted of robbing the Kelly Community Federal Credit Union in Tyler on Dec. 5, 2005; the Bank of America in Henderson on Nov. 3, 2006; the Austin Bank in Troup on June 22, 2007; the Bank of America in Lufkin on July 6, 2007 and the Citizens National Bank in Crockett on Sept. 22, 2007.
The half-brothers face up to five years in prison for the conspiracy charge, 25 years each of the bank robbery charges, at least seven years each for showing handguns during a crime of violence and at least 10 years for discharging an assault rifle.
According to reports, during the trial Assistant US Attorney Frank Coan said the pair were suspects in the robbery of 15 banks but were only tried for five.
The duo came to be known as the “Takeover Bandits” and they held up five banks and credit unions at gunpoint from Dec. 5, 2005 – Sept. 22, 2007.
The last bank the pair hit was Citizens National Bank in Crockett.
Coan reportedly said during the trial that the robberies were all the same in that the pair stole a getaway car a day or two before the heist, robbed the bank at gunpoint fled in another vehicle which they drove to where the stolen can was hidden, switched cars and fled.
Officials reportedly used DNA to identify the pair as the culprits in the robberies.