KATY (Covering Fort Bend News) – The seven men involved in the July 2017 armed robbery of First Community Credit Union in Katy have been ordered to federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. A jury deliberated for approximately two hours following a four-day trial before convicting Walter Freeman Jordan aka “Wacko,” 31, and Johnathon Nico Wise, 27, both of Houston, on Jan. 25, 2018.
Both were charged and convicted of aiding and abetting aggravated bank robbery. Jordan was also convicted of aiding and abetting the unlawful use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.
Five others – Jaylen Christine Loring, 22, Daryl Carlton Anderson, 33, Deandre Bendard Santee, 27, Raymond Demond Pace, 21, and Zelmer Samuel Bonner, 27, all of Houston, pleaded guilty prior to trial.
Today, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison, who presided over the trial, handed Jordan a 262-month sentence for the bank robbery as well as another 84 months for the firearms offense which must be served consecutively. Wise received a 121-month-term of imprisonment. Both will also be required to serve a term of five years of supervised release following completion of the prison term.
Pace received a 50-month sentence for the underlying bank robbery, while Loring, Santee, Anderson and Bonner were sentenced to 12, 105, 70 and 70, months, respectively. Pace and Bonner were also convicted on firearms charges and each received 84 months which must be served consecutively resulting in total sentences of 134 and 154 months, respectively.
At trial, the jury heard that at approximately 12:52 p.m. on July 25, 2017, a stolen black Toyota Tundra drove to the front of the First Community Credit Union located at 23120 Cinco Ranch Boulevard in Katy. Once there, Jordan, Bonner and Pace entered the bank and ordered everyone to get on the ground. While inside, Jordan and Bonner jumped the teller counter and demanded credit union employees to open the teller drawers. When one of those employees did not comply quickly enough, Bonner punched the employee in the head while yelling “hurry up!”
Pace kept customers and employees on the ground during the robbery. Soon thereafter, he yelled “the cops are down the street, let’s go!”
The robbers were communicating with the lookouts – Wise, Santee, Anderson and Loring – outside of the credit union via cell phone during the crime.
The robbers returned to the Toyota Tundra and fled the scene along with three other vehicles – a silver Chevrolet Malibu, silver Nissan Rogue and a maroon Volkswagen Jetta. Loring was apprehended a short time later in the Malibu as was Anderson who was driving the Jetta. Shortly thereafter, officers also stopped the Rogue and arrested Santee and Wise.
Authorities pursued the Tundra for 19 miles, which was travelling at speeds up to 120 mph east on I-10. Authorities were eventually able to apprehend Pace, Bonner and Jordan at the North Post Oaks Lofts apartment complex in Houston. Officers located a Springfield semi-automatic pistol from the Toyota Tundra as well as a Stoeger Cougar .40 Caliber semi-automatic pistol from inside the apartment where Jordan had been hiding.
During trial, the jury heard from Loring and Anderson who testified about the robbery plan and what transpired. Additional testimony came from more than 10 officers as well as an expert who explained how the cell phones were identified and used during the crime.
The defense attempted to convince the jury that Jordan and Wise had been mis-identified and had no knowledge of the robbery plan. They did not believe their claims and found them guilty as charged.
With the exception of Loring, who was permitted to remain on bond, all have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The case is the result of the Houston Law Enforcement Violent Crime Initiative created to proactively fight violent crime across the Greater Houston area. The FBI and the Houston Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard D. Hanes and Heather Rae Winter are prosecuting the case.