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W.Va. man enters plea in second M&T Bank robbery

July 19, 2010|By DON AINES

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A West Virginia man already convicted of one bank robbery entered an Alford plea Monday in Washington County Circuit Court on a second case, while charges in a third bank robbery were dismissed.

Bobby Gene Shelly, 34, of Martinsburg, was convicted in April of the June 26, 2009, robbery of the M&T Bank at 177724 Garland Groh Boulevard and is serving a 10-year sentence, court records said. On Monday he entered the Alford plea to one count of robbery in the May 12, 2009, robbery of the M&T Bank branch at 14 S. Potomac St., in Williamsport.

In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges there is enough evidence to gain a conviction. Judge W. Kennedy Boone sentenced Shelly to 285 days time served.

In exchange for the plea, the state dismissed armed robbery, second-degree assault and theft charges from that case. Assistant State's Attorney Michele Hansen said the state also would not be prosecuting Shelly on charges of robbery, second-degree assault and theft for a May 26, 2009, hold-up at the M&T Bank branch in the Valley Mall.

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"If Virginia wasn't waiting for you, we wouldn't be doing it," Boone said of the plea agreement. Once his 10-year sentence in Maryland is served, Shelly will be turned over to authorities in Virginia for charges and parole violations in that state, Boone said.

Assistant Public Defender Carl F. Creeden told Boone that the state did not have a "strong" identification of Shelly in the Williamsport robbery. In the Valley Mall robbery, "the person in the (surveillance) video doesn't have a tattoo on his neck," Creeden said.

In the robbery in which Shelly was convicted by a jury in April, a police officer from Frederick County testified he saw a man run from the bank and get into a blue pickup, according to the application for statement of charges filed by the Hagerstown Police Department. An off-duty Hagerstown police detective testified he saw a similar truck pass him on Interstate 81 near Garland Groh Boulevard and that the driver had a tattoo on his neck, the statement said.

On June 30, 2009, an FBI agent told police that Shelly was believed to be responsible for area bank robberies and it was learned that Shelly had recently been released from the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center in Winchester, Va., according to the application for statement of charges. A booking photo of Shelly showed a tattoo on the left side of his neck, the statement said.

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