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Bank robber to serve 15 years

Girard Carlos Turner Jr., a 25-year-old North Garden resident, will spend an effective 15 years in prison for robbing the South Boston branch of Carter Bank & Trust in July 2014, the remainder of his life sentence suspended Tuesday in Halifax County Circuit Court.

The court ordered the suspended portion of Turner’s sentence be conditioned on his good behavior for 50 years, beginning immediately, and it ordered him placed on probation for four years upon his release.

The court also ordered Turner to pay $5,800 restitution and banned him from all Carter Bank & Trust locations.

At sentencing, the commonwealth presented a number of witnesses who were Carter Bank & Trust employees at the time of the offense, who described the lasting effect of the robbery on them and the bank environment, according to Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin.

“Notably, Mr. Turner had previously committed a bank robbery, attempted robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery in other jurisdictions,” Martin said.

“The court’s sentence was above the high end of the sentencing guidelines,” she added.

Turner pleaded guilty in January in Halifax County Circuit Court to robbery in connection with the July 20 robbery of Carter Bank & Trust in South Boston.

Turner pleaded guilty to the robbery of Huebert Vass, a teller at Carter Bank & Trust, at approximately 11:15 a.m. that morning, according to prosecution evidence proffered at trial by Halifax County Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Kia Scott.

Scott told Judge Joel Cunningham South Boston Police were dispatched to Carter Bank & Trust for a report of a bank robbery on the morning of July 20.

Witnesses reported that a black man about 5-7 or 5-8 with a black T-shirt and carrying a red bag was seen fleeing from the bank.

Scott said a man approached teller Vass with a red bag and showed him a note telling him to take money from the bottom drawer.

According to Scott, one witness inside the bank almost decided to rush the robber but was cautioned against it by his wife.

The defendant took about $5,800 before running from the bank, Scott told the court.

Another bank employee overheard what was happening and pressed an alarm button, Scott continued.

On the way out, Turner lost a shoe, and a witness outside the bank saw Turner pick up the shoe and look at her before fleeing.

Surveillance video taken inside the bank was developed and returned for evidence. The note also was recovered, and fingerprints were taken at the scene.

In August, authorities in Bath County arrested a suspect believed to be connected with the robbery of Carter Bank & Trust in Mitchelltown.

Halifax County authorities traveled to Bath County to interview the defendant and advised him of his rights.

Scott said Turner confessed to the robbery.  Turner told authorities he didn’t know the name of the bank he robbed adding he had never been to South Boston before.

Turner admitted he passed a note to the teller, and the teller gave him money from the bottom drawer.

He also confirmed the clothing he wore that day, admitted he was carrying a red bag and also that he lost a shoe while running from the bank, Scott told Cunningham.

Turner pleaded guilty to the felony charge for the robbery of Vass after reaching a plea agreement with the commonwealth.

In another sentencing hearing on Tuesday, the court sentenced 32-year-old Danville resident Ticey Lee Thompson to an effective 25 years in prison for 21 sex charges, 15 for production of child pornography and six for aggravated sexual battery of a child less than 13-years-old.

The court sentenced Thompson, a former South Boston resident, to 20 years in prison each for the six aggravated sexual battery charges and five years each for 15 charges for manufacturing child pornography, and it ordered all but 25 years in prison suspended, conditioned on Thompson’s good behavior for 75 years, beginning immediately.

In addition, the court ordered Thompson placed on probation for three years and to register as a sex offender.

During sentencing for Thompson, the commonwealth presented the testimony of the parents of two of the child victims to describe the emotional burden the family continues to bear as the result of the offenses, according to Martin.

“Before pronouncing sentence, Judge Joel C. Cunningham referenced, based on the evidence, the defendant’s proclivity to re-offend,” Martin said.

“The judge stated that if the court could spare another family or child from being abused or harmed, it was certainly worth the efforts of the court.

“The judge further indicated that what the defendant did was so awful and harmful, he felt he had no choice but to render the 25-year active sentence.

“Judge Cunningham also noted that if the defendant were not also serving a separate 39-year sentence in Danville for possession of child pornography, he would likely have imposed an even greater sentence.”

Thompson pleaded guilty to the charges in February, prior to a two-day jury trial.

Law enforcement’s attention was first drawn to Thompson in 2010 when they discovered a computer used by him was being used to download Internet child pornography, according to Martin.

“As the result of a search warrant and a forensic examination of the computer, law enforcement discovered certain photographs of children which did not appear to have been Internet downloads,” Martin said.

“South Boston Police Department Detective Randy Redd investigated the matter to determine the identity of the children appearing in the images of concern and made attempts to locate Mr. Thompson,” Martin continued.

“Detective Redd succeeded in interviewing Mr. Thompson and obtaining a confession in October of 2012 in the City of Danville, where a computer containing child pornography had been discovered by law enforcement.

“Mr. Thompson confessed to touching his genitals to the children while they were sleeping and accessible to him, sometime between 2006 and 2008.

“He also admitted to taking a number of pornographic photographs memorializing his behaviors.

“Photographs depicting the child pornography were presented to the court and ordered under seal at the request of the commonwealth’s attorney in order to protect the identity of the children.”

The convictions against Thompson stemmed from incidents that occurred between Jan. 1, 2006 and Oct. 7, 2010, and following a lengthy investigation involving the South Boston Police Department, Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Danville Police Department, according to the South Boston detective.

 

Other court case

Stephanie Denise Boyd, 31, of Nathalie was sentenced Tuesday to an effective 20 days in jail for driving on a revoked license, 10 days of that term the mandatory minimum.

The court also sentenced Boyd to a five-year suspended prison term for forgery of a public record and a 12-month suspended term for identity theft.

The court ordered the suspended portion of Boyd’s sentence be conditioned on her good behavior for five years and ordered her placed on probation for six months beginning immediately. 

In addition, the court suspended Boyd’s operator’s license for 90 days.