The Latest: Homeless lifelong bank robber, 77, gets 15 years


The Latest on a homeless bank robber and lifelong criminal who confessed to robbing a Nevada bank so he could return to prison where he’s spent most of the past half century (all times local PDT):

5:25 p.m.

A 77-year-old lifelong, homeless criminal who says he held up a Nevada bank with a steak knife so he could go back to prison where he has spent most of the last half century has been ordered there for up to another 15 years.

Tommy Ray McAdoo told a federal judge at his sentencing in Reno on Tuesday he was reminded of a song by country singer Patsy Cline, and that all he really had to say was that he’s sorry.

His public defender, Lauren Gorman, pleaded for leniency. She said the former Seattle man was gravely ill and likely to die in prison even if the judge granted her request for less than five years.

Judge Robert Jones said he agreed with federal prosecutors who argued McAdoo was still a threat to public safety given that he robbed a bank with a dangerous weapon at the age of 77. He said McAdoo has shown a willingness to commit a violent crime for his own benefit, “including government housing.”

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Editors: This version corrects the 77-year-old’s McAdoo’s age in an earlier version. Federal court documents filed last month said he was 78. A public defender said in court Tuesday he is 77.

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12:40 a.m.

Public defenders are pleading for leniency for a 78-year-old, lifelong criminal who admitted robbing a Reno bank with a steak knife so he could return to prison instead of spending his last years homeless, cold and sick.

Tommy Ray McAdoo faces 25 years in prison or more when he’s scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Reno on Tuesday. Court-appointed lawyers for the former Seattle man are asking for a sentence of less than five years.

“Mr. McAdoo’s crime was committed by a gravely ill, homeless man who after staying out of the system for eight years impulsively decided he needed to do something to go back to prison,” federal public defenders Rene Valladares and Lauren Gorman wrote in court papers filed July 25.

“His health is declining rapidly and with it any risk to the public he could present,” they said, adding that McAdoo “understands that almost any sentence in this case is a death sentence.”

“A sentence of 51 months gives Mr. McAdoo nothing more than a sliver of hope he will die outside of prison gates. Such a sentence is just and appropriate in the unique circumstances of this case,” they said.

FBI agents investigating the Nov. 9, 2016 robbery at a downtown bank found McAdoo hours later eating lunch at a nearby casino and asked him what he did for a living.

“I used to rob banks,” he answered, according to the federal criminal complaint.



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