City man sentenced in bank holdups

May 25, 2007|By Matthew Dolan | Matthew Dolan,sun reporter

So deep was William Earl Horshaw's depression and so severe was his drug addiction that the 45-year-old Baltimore man told a federal judge yesterday he robbed banks in the hope that a police officer would gun him down.

Moved by Horshaw's mental health troubles, but unable to forget the severity of his crimes, U.S. District Judge Andre M. Davis sentenced Horshaw to slightly more than 7 1/2 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release for bank robbery. Horshaw must also pay restitution of $15,603.

Davis said he would recommend that Horshaw be placed at a federal prison in North Carolina, where he could undergo intensive treatment for drug addiction.

Seated at a table, Horshaw spoke softly but clearly about how his life had turned out so badly, apologizing to his family and friends who he said "raised him right." The robberies, he said, were a cry for help from a suicidal man who desperately needed medical help. In prison, Horshaw said, he is receiving counseling and medication.

Davis' sentence followed the recommendation of Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, the prosecutor, who asked for a prison term of no less than 92 months.

Assistant federal public defender Jeffrey E. Risberg described his client in contrast with his crimes, calling him a "gentle and patient man" raised by a supportive family on West Cold Spring Lane but who fell victim to depression and heroin and cocaine addiction. Risberg said Horshaw had never before been convicted of a violent crime.

In a summertime spree almost three years ago, Horshaw robbed or attempted to rob seven banks in Baltimore City and in Baltimore and Howard counties between June and August 2004. In each case, prosecutors said, Horshaw would present a note threatening to kill the teller unless he got money.

After Horshaw robbed banks in Pikesville, Catonsville, Ellicott City, Timonium, Baltimore and White Marsh, he attempted to rob First Mariner Bank in the 7000 block of Security Blvd. in Woodlawn on Aug. 3, 2004. When bank employees alerted security personnel, a Baltimore County police officer arrested Horshaw with the assistance of bank employees.matthew.dolan@baltsun.com

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