Amarillo Man Faces Life in Federal Prison After Jury Convicts Him of Committing Armed Bank Robbery and Other Firearms Offenses
Federal Jury Also Convicts Defendant’s Nephew on Federal Firearm Offense
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 25, 2013|
AMARILLO, TX—Following a five-day trial before U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson, a federal jury has convicted Amarillo residents, Donald Joseph West, 49, and his nephew, David James West, 43, on all counts of a superseding indictment, returned by a federal grand jury earlier this year, charging felony offenses in connection with the November 5, 2012 armed robbery of FirstBank Southwest in Amarillo. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, Donald West was convicted on one count of aggravated bank robbery, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence (the bank robbery). An armed career criminal, Donald West faces a statutory sentence of not less than 22 years and up to life in federal prison and a $750,000 fine.
David West, who remains on bond, was convicted on one count of the unlawful sale and disposition of a firearm. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing for both defendants is set for June 4, 2013, before Judge Robinson.
The government presented evidence at trial that on Monday, November 5, 2012, a man wearing a mask entered the FirstBank Southwest branch located at 5701 Southwest 34th Street in Amarillo, pointed a gun at a teller, and demanded cash. The teller placed money in a bag and the man, later identified as Donald West, left the bank. He was arrested the next evening by officers with the Amarillo Police Department and special agents with the FBI and has been in custody since that time.
The government presented further evidence that during the robbery, Donald West used a semi-automatic pistol. When he was arrested, a firearm that was given to him by David West shortly before the robbery was recovered. Donald West is a convicted felon, having been convicted 1) in Randall County, Texas, of committing aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in 1988; 2) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas with conspiracy to commit bank robbery and bank robbery in 1987; and 3) in Randall County for evading detention in 2011. The government presented further evidence that David West gave the 9mm caliber pistol to his uncle, well-knowing that he was a convicted felon.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Amarillo Police Department, and the Potter and Randall County Sheriff’s Offices. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeff Haag, Justin Cunningham and Christy Drake are prosecuting.