For Ronald Michael Young, it's two down and one to go. Convicted of three bank robberies in Fairfax County, he's now been sentenced to prison for two of them; and in September, he'll learn his punishment for the third.
Meanwhile, he was sentenced last week in Circuit Court to six years behind bars for the March 28, 2006 robbery of the BB&T Bank on Lee Jackson Memorial Highway in Chantilly.
"The defendant chose to commit these robberies," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Mark Sullivan, at Young's sentencing last Friday. He then asked Judge Arthur Vierreg to impose the six years recommended by the jury in this case, and the judge complied.
But for Young, the problem isn't so much the six years — It's this six years added to another six years he received in July, added to the 20 years he's already received from Loudoun County. And he's still facing his September court appearance, at which time he could be given another 12 years on top of everything.
His defense attorney, Lavonda Graham, said it all came down to bad choices and Young's allegiance, misplaced or not, to the man who got him involved in the robberies, Geoffrey Rogers.
THE TWO knew each other from a prior prison stint and, when they got out, Young visited Rogers in Paducah, Ky., where he lived. Then they both went to Manassas, where Young lived, and embarked upon a bank-robbery spree in two counties.
Rogers, 43, actually committed the heists, and Young, 39, drove the getaway car. But in the eyes of the law, they're equally guilty. Together, they robbed three banks in Fairfax County and two in Loudoun County in spring 2006:
* March 17 — United Bank, Fair Lakes Shopping Center, Fairfax.
* March 28 — BB&T Bank, Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, Chantilly.
* March 30 — Virginia Commerce Bank, Metrotech Drive, Chantilly; BB&T Bank, Ashburn; and Provident Bank, Sterling.
Authorities captured them April 16, 2006 in Prince William County, after an unsuccessful carjacking attempt there. Since then, both men have either had trials or entered pleas in each of the cases and were convicted every time.
Rogers was sentenced to a total of 42 years in prison — 24 years from Fairfax County and 18 years from Loudoun. Young has now been given 32 years total from both counties and may well receive a dozen more next month.
He was sentenced last Friday, Aug. 10, in Fairfax County Circuit Court for robbing the Chantilly BB&T. And during Young's June 25-26 jury trial, the bank teller testified.
She said a man with a cap in his hand approached her, shortly before 1 p.m. "He leaned on my window and said, very slowly, 'Give me all your fifties and hundreds,'" said the woman. "I realized I was being robbed, but I didn't have very much [money]."
"SO BECAUSE I only had $100 or $200, he said, 'Give me all the money you have,'" the woman continued. "I took out my drawer, and he took it all — twenties, tens and fives — even the ones. After that, we did an audit, and it came up $1,400 short."
During the robbery, she tried to get the other tellers' attention, but Rogers caught her: "He saw me and said, 'Don't do that,' and I told him, 'Don't yell at me,' and then the others looked," said the teller. "Once he left, I told them I'd been robbed."
Magda Bous, the teller supervisor, saw the teller "pass all the money to this gentleman" and set off the bank's silent alarm. "It was so scary," said Bous. "He wasn't even out of the doorway, and I closed the door behind him. He looked at me and I made myself freeze, and then he left. I was shocked; I was shaking, and I had to calm everybody down."
Bank surveillance photos were released to the media, and a Crime Solvers tip pegged Rogers as the culprit. Police Det. Gary Bailey testified Young later admitted to him that he'd driven the getaway car. According to Bailey, Young said "Rogers gave him $850 proceeds from the robbery to help with his rent."
Bailey also testified that Young told him Rogers had smoked cigarettes prior to the robbery — something he wouldn't have known unless he was there.
At the start of Young's sentencing Friday, prosecutor Sullivan told Judge Vierreg: "The jury has spoken. It recommended six years, and six years he should serve. And [this sentence] should run consecutive with any other sentence [he's received]."
STRESSING THAT her client was the driver, not the robber, Graham asked Vierreg to run Young's sentence concurrent to his other ones. Young, himself, chose not to speak.
The judge then carried out the jury's wishes, sentencing Young to six years in prison, plus three years post-release supervision. And he made the sentence consecutive.
Afterward, Graham said the sentence was fair, under the circumstances, and she didn't expect Young to appeal it. Still, she said it was sad, the way things had turned out for him.
"It's a shame because he's a really smart guy, and he has a great wife and a baby girl, a year old," said Graham. "He tried to get Rogers out of his life. He left Kentucky first and Rogers followed him."
When Young returned to Virginia, said Graham, he had a job doing heating and cooling. But Rogers' influence was too strong.
"I think Ronald was making a turn [for the better], but he still felt for a guy who had helped him through prison," she explained. "But he just couldn't serve two masters. It's unfortunate."