Suspect in 2017 robberies sentenced to 38 years

JACKSON, Tenn. — A man charged in two 2017 robberies has been sentenced to 38 years in federal custody following a trial last year.

Gene Allen Howell, 39, was found guilty of two counts of aggravated bank robbery in October. Howell was accused of robbing Home Banking Company, in Finger, in August 2017, and The Peoples Bank in Reagan in October 2017.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Howell pulled a gun on three female employees at Home Banking Company, threatening to kill them if they did not comply with his demands, before leaving the bank in a stolen utility vehicle.

The release says just two months later, Howell attempted to rob The Peoples Bank in Reagan by attempting to accost two employees before work. The release says by the time Howell reached the employees, the were in the secure tellers’ area of the bank.

Howell shot at one of the employees, who was protected by the bullet-proof glass surrounding the teller area, the release says.

Howell and his getaway driver were arrested 10 days later in Alcorn County, Mississippi on drug-related charges. The release says Howell was found with two pistols, including one believed to be used in the Reagan robbery, ammunition, and the clothing worn during the robberies.

The getaway driver and co-defendant pleaded guilty and testified against him, according to the release.

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