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Man charged in bank robbery sentenced again

August 17, 2000

Man charged in bank robbery sentenced again



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


Anthony Joseph Lombardi III stood before Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick Wright Thursday to be sentenced a second time for a January 1997 bank robbery.

Lombardi, of Hagerstown, initially had been sentenced to serve 35 years for bank robbery, but a state appeals court threw out his earlier conviction.

On Thursday, Lombardi, 37, entered an Alford plea to a charge of robbery and was sentenced to serve eight years. All other charges were dismissed in exchange for the plea.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant acknowledges the prosecution has sufficient evidence to prove the charges but doesn't admit guilt.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals in March overturned the earlier conviction after it determined there had been improper admission of hearsay evidence by an FBI agent at the first trial.

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Lombardi has been in prison since March 26, 1999, when Wright sentenced him in Washington County Circuit Court for the 1997 robbery of a Home Federal Savings Bank branch on the Dual Highway.

He remained incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown until Thursday's retrial.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that the testimony of an FBI agent during Lombardi's jury trial included hearsay statements made to that agent by another witness.

At the trial, FBI Agent Barry O'Neill, now retired, testified that a friend of Lombardi's told him that a gun that turned up in the investigation had been used in a robbery.

When that witness took the stand he didn't testify to that, the higher court noted.

The Jan. 10, 1997, robbery occurred at the Home Federal Savings Bank branch at 1700 Dual Highway.

Eight months after the robbery, the FBI charged Lombardi with bank robbery at his Crossfield Road home.

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