By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — The second of four co-defendants in an October armed bank robbery was sentenced on Monday.
Nineteen-year-old Edwin Le’Anthony “Lee” Ricard of Anderson received a 15-year sentence from Madison Circuit Court 4 Judge David Happe for his part in the robbery of the First Merchants Bank at 2825 Nichol Ave. on the morning of Oct. 28.
Ricard pleaded guilty in March, admitting he committed the crime with the help of three other people. He said he and 23-year-old Gerald L. Reed carried out the actual robbery, while 32-year-old Latorya A. Rayford provided a car and supplies and 34-year-old Ashonta K. Jackson masterminded the plan.
Reed received the same sentence after pleading guilty earlier in the year. Jackson and Rayford face trial dates of April 29 and Aug. 19, respectively.
Ricard said he and Reed had been committing crimes for Jackson for some time. He said Jackson planned the heist and drove him and Reed, and Rayford provided gloves and duct tape to cover the getaway vehicle’s license plate.
On the day of the robbery, Ricard and Reed rushed into the bank, demanded money from tellers at gunpoint and escaped in a white Ford Taurus. At one point, one of the men struck a female teller in the head with the butt of a handgun. The teller was treated for minor injuries.
Minutes after the robbery, a witness reported to police that two men had abandoned a Taurus with a matching description in the 2200 block of West 12th Street and left the area in a four-door black-and-blue Ford Taurus.
According to a release from the Anderson Police Department after the robbery, numerous eyewitness accounts enabled detectives to identify both Reed and Ricard as the two suspects in the holdup. Most of the money stolen during the robbery was believed to have been recovered during the investigation.
Police weren’t able to take a statement from Ricard until November. He fled after the robbery and was found hiding out in a home in the 600 block of West Third Street in Mansfield, Ohio, by authorities there on Nov. 1.
Police tracked Reed to a home in the 2700 block of West 18th Street and arrested him. Police also found the black-and-blue Taurus, belonging to Rayford, in the driveway of the home.
According to the affidavit, officers found an envelope with $300 in Rayford’s possession, and the glove compartment of her car contained about half the money taken from the bank, several thousand dollars.
At first, Rayford reportedly told detectives that she had the car all day. When police told her the car was used after the robbery, she said she had loaned the car to Reed for about an hour, and that he gave her the $300. Rayford reportedly had worked at the branch and was fired several years ago after being questionably involved in a robbery that occurred while she worked there.
Jackson was taken into custody on Nov. 12 after an eyewitness who identified Reed and Ricard as the robbers also identified Jackson from a lineup as the driver of the second car.
In his upcoming trial, Jackson faces a Class B felony charge of robbery. Rayford was charged with Class D felony assisting a criminal as well as misdemeanor false informing.
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