2 Zenone brothers are sentenced to 34, 12 years for robbing banks Pair also suspected in double homicide

March 06, 1997|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Joan Jacobson contributed to this article.

Two brothers who are suspects in a 1995 double homicide at Loch Raven Reservoir were sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore for their roles in robbing three area banks.

Judge Frederic N. Smalkin sentenced Anthony Zenone, 31, to 34 years in prison for robbing First Virginia Bank in Towson on April 26, 1996, Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. in White Marsh on April 12, 1996, and First National Bank in Arnold on Sept. 2, 1993. Zenone pleaded guilty to the Arnold robbery in December. He committed that crime wearing a Ronald Reagan mask.

Smalkin sentenced Zenone's brother, Michael Zenone, 28, to 12 years in prison for robbing and aiding and abetting in the holdups at Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. and First Virginia Bank. Michael Zenone was acquitted of two federal weapons charges stemming from the robberies.

Gerald C. Ruter, Michael Zenone's attorney, and Andrew Graham, Anthony's attorney, said yesterday that they would appeal, questioning the legality of the search.

Although the brothers have been named by Baltimore County police as suspects in the June 15, 1995, slayings of Vincent B. Young and Vernon A. Smith, whose bodies were found in shallow water in Loch Raven Reservoir, they have not yet been charged in the case.

Ann S. Brobst, a Baltimore County assistant state's attorney, would not comment on the homicide case except to say it is still an active investigation.

During yesterday's hearing, just before Smalkin announced his sentence, Michael Zenone asked the judge for leniency and said he was committed to changing his behavior and leading a better life.

"I cannot change my past, but I can change my future," he said. "I have set new goals and have found a new love for the law and hope one day to practice it. These are the kinds of goals my parents raised me to have."

During the hearing, three bank tellers testified that they are still suffering from the terror they felt during the holdups, in which the brothers threatened to kill them.

Cheryl Ann Humphreys, the head teller at the First Virginia Bank, spoke directly to Michael Zenone and said she was so disturbed by the holdup, in which he held a gun to her and threatened to "blow her head off," that she wrote him a letter in the middle of the night because she could not stop thinking about it.

"Who are you? It's 3 a.m., and I can't close my eyes," she read from her letter in an angry voice. "Why did you terrorize us? Was it for the money? We would have given it to you anyway. I hope you rot in hell for the terror you have caused us."

Humphreys, the single parent of a 16-year-old girl, said she believed Zenone when he told her the brothers would come back and kill her if she called the police and the police caught them. She said her daughter was so traumatized by the holdup that she wants her to quit her job and calls her every day at the bank to make sure she is safe.

Denise Flemming, a Mercantile Bank teller, said the robbery has had a lasting impact on her and her co-workers. "We shouldn't have to fear for our lives when we come to work," she said. "I see what happens when there is a loud noise. Each of us panics."

Pub Date: 3/06/97

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