GREENBELT, Md. (March 24, 2009) - William Cordell Johnson, age 38, of Port Republic, Maryland pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery, armed bank robbery, using a gun during the robbery and illegal possession of a gun by a convicted felon, in connection with the September 24, 2008 robbery of $169,900 from a bank in St. Marys County in which the bank manager and her two minor children were kidnapped from their residence, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to his guilty plea, Johnson and a co-conspirator devised and arranged a plan to rob a bank on Three Notch Road in California, Maryland. Johnsons conspirators, including Quinita Ennis, observed the whereabouts of the bank manager, determining the time and route she used to leave her minor children in the care of another, and the procedures used by bank employees to open the bank. On September 24, 2008, Ennis drove Johnson and a co-conspirator to the bank managers residence in Calvert County. Johnson and his co-conspirator, wearing masks and camouflage clothing, and brandishing a 9 mm rifle, kidnapped the manager and her two minor children, and drove the family to St. Marys County in the managers vehicle. Johnson ordered the manager to drive to the bank and obtain funds. Johnson held the managers minor son hostage in her vehicle while the manager and her daughter entered the bank. The manager obtained $169,900 and exited the bank, leaving her daughter in the bank with another bank employee. The manager gave the funds to Johnson. Johnson forced the manager to drive him to an elementary school where he released the manager and her son. Johnson drove the managers vehicle to a nearby parking lot. Ennis and a co-conspirator picked him up, and they drove to the co-conspirators house where they divided the money stolen from the bank.
Late that day, Johnson and his coconspirators drove to Atlantic City, New Jersey, carrying tens of thousands of dollars from the bank robbery. They conducted financial transactions at casinos and gambled.
Following the robbery, Johnson and a co-conspirator buried the rifle used in the robbery behind a shed in the backyard of the co-conspirators residence. They bought safes, and buried the safes with approximately $84,000 of the stolen funds in the backyard. They attempted to burn camouflage clothing, sunglasses, a stocking hat and gloves used in the robbery.
Between September 30 and October 3, 2008 Johnson and a co-conspirator drove to Virginia and North Carolina with some of the stolen funds which they used to make purchases. As part of his plea, Johnson agrees to forfeit $169,900, including clothing and jewelry that they purchased.
Johnson faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy, 25 years in prison for bank robbery, life in prison for using a gun and 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a gun. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow scheduled sentencing for June 1, 2009 at 1:00 p.m.
Quinita Jessie Ennis, age 31, of Lexington Park, Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery, armed bank robbery and for making false statements in purchasing a rifle at a Lexington Park store that was used in the robbery, falsely representing that she was the actual purchaser, when in fact she was purchasing the firearm for Johnsons co-conspirator. Judge Chasanow scheduled her sentencing for March 30, 2009. Co-defendant Edwin Jonathan Jones, age 40, of Lexington Park, Maryland pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact in connection with assisting the co-conspirators after the bank robbery to hinder their arrest. Judge Chasanow scheduled his sentencing for June 1, 2009.
Source: United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein