Last Friday, the three men involved in the attempted heist of the Cattleman’s National Bank in Round Mountain last November received their sentencing. Two of the three illegal citizens were handed down 20 years in a U.S. prison for bank robbery and weapons charges – while the third man only received 17 years as part of a plea agreement.
According to witnesses and court documents, the assailants jabbed a gun into the stomach of Cattleman’s National Bank Vice President, George Schuh. They put a gun in his mouth, briefly took him hostage, and used him as a human shield as local law enforcement arrived on the scene.
At one point time, Johnson City Police Chief Randy Holland actually drove the bumper of his patrol car to within inches of the passenger-side door of their getaway vehicle. This prevented the fugitives from escaping with their vehicle.
Though Holland emerged from his patrol car with a shotgun and was less than 10 feet away – his main priority was in the safety of the hostage, who had a gun pointed directly at his head.
“If it wasn’t for the actions of Chief Holland, I might not be here today,” Schuh stated to the sentencing judge on Friday.
Since this case was tried in Federal court, both Holland and Schuh had the opportunity to speak directly to the would be robbers, as well as the judge before sentencing was passed down.
“I think that the question that has yet to be asked of these gentlemen is, what would they have done to Mr. Schuh had they been able to get away… I don’t think they would have let him go since he had seen their faces,” Holland stated.
On a Friday morning in November 2009, the trio of men ambushed Schuh in the early morning hours as he unlocked the back door of the bank. What took place after that was a series of events that could have had a tragic ending, but due to the quick actions of the Blanco County Sheriff’s Department and Johnson City Police Department – the event ended without the loss of any life.
After a brief standoff with Holland, the assailants managed to escape on foot for a few days before they were captured.
“He was just sick about it,” stated Holland’s wife Jennifer. “He stayed up all night worried that someone else was going to get hurt with these guys running around… but at the same time he just knew he had made the right decision by focusing on the hostage. A lot of people don’t realize that.”
Three days later the men were captured when local business owner, Scott Adkins had a chance encounter with them.
Adkins, owner of the warehouse located north of the river bridge on Highway 281, stated that he and a group of guys were outside working when two Hispanic men approached them asking for food. They said that they had not eaten for three days. The men then asked for a ride to San Antonio and offered to pay them one hundred dollars.
Adkins thought that such an offer was bizarre, and decided to call the police. On his way to the phone, he noticed three patrol cars crossing the Pedernales bridge. The two Hispanic gentlemen saw the police cruisers coming, but still remained calm. Adkins flagged the officers down and told the police that there were two men at his shop eating. The police officers approached the men, talked to them, and searched them without incident.
Last May, Baltazar Nava plead guilty to bank robbery and using a firearm in a crime of violence. For this, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks handed down a sentencing of 17 years in federal prison. Sparks said Nava is a Mexican citizen and that he anticipates Nava will be deported after serving his time.
Ruilber Alexander Aleman and Nahum Samiento Ramirez each received 20 years in prison, convicted of bank robbery and using a firearm in a crime of violence after a June trial. Both men are Honduran, and Sparks said he expects these men will also be deported after serving their time.
“I really think that what we [Holland and Schuh] had to say in court had a real impact on the number of years these men received… I’d like to think we had an impact on the judge’s ruling” Holland stated. “It was great to see justice at work.”
Whether you agree that justice was met or not – one thing’s for sure. Thanks to the quick actions by the Blanco County Sheriff’s department and Johnson City Police department, these would be robbers have 20 years to think about their actions.