Suspect in slaying gets 65 years in bank robberies

November 07, 1996|By Scott Higham | Scott Higham,SUN STAFF

A violent career criminal awaiting trial in the slaying of a woman outside a Waverly bank last year was sentenced to 65 years behind bars yesterday for holding up a series of banks in and around Baltimore two summers ago.

The sentence is one of the stiffest ever handed down in Maryland in a bank robbery case, according to FBI agents and federal prosecutors.

"He will die in jail," Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio said yesterday.

Andre Allen, 36, robbed three banks during the summer of 1995, two in Baltimore and one in Baltimore County. He waved a pistol in the air, pointing it at bank tellers and threatening to "blow their heads off" if they disobeyed his orders.

Earlier this year, Allen pleaded guilty to the robberies. But in April, he withdrew his plea and took his case to trial. A federal jury convicted him in June. His co-defendant, James Purnell, also was convicted and sentenced last month to 22 1/2 years.

U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake, finding enough evidence to declare him a career criminal, gave Allen the maximum sentence under federal guidelines. The federal system does not grant parole.

Allen faces first-degree murder charges in the June 1995 fatal shooting of Pearl Elizabeth Moffett. He could receive a life sentence without parole if convicted.Prosecutors say Moffett's nephew, Danny Paul McGee, set up his aunt by giving Allen her banking schedule so Allen could rob her and split the payroll money from a family business with McGee.

Pub Date: 11/07/96

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