Lawyers: Elderly Bank Robber Just Wanted to Go to Prison
Tommy Ray McAdoo, 78, didn't want to be homeless, they say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 1, 2017 9:30 AM CDT
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This file booking photo provided by the Washoe County Sheriff's Office shows Tommy Ray McAdoo.   (Washoe County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

(Newser) – Public defenders are pleading for leniency for a 78-year-old, lifelong criminal who admitted robbing a Reno bank with a steak knife so he could return to prison instead of spending his last years homeless, cold, and sick. Tommy Ray McAdoo faces 25 years in prison or more when he's scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Reno on Tuesday, per the AP. Court-appointed lawyers for the former Seattle man are asking for a sentence of less than five years, which would seemingly defy what they say are the wishes of their client. "Mr. McAdoo's crime was committed by a gravely ill, homeless man, who after staying out of the system for eight years impulsively decided he needed to do something to go back to prison," federal public defenders Rene Valladares and Lauren Gorman wrote in court papers filed July 25.

"His health is declining rapidly and with it any risk to the public he could present," they said, adding that McAdoo "understands that almost any sentence in this case is a death sentence." FBI agents investigating the Nov. 9, 2016, robbery at a downtown bank found McAdoo hours later eating lunch at a nearby casino and asked him what he did for a living. "I used to rob banks," he answered, according to the federal criminal complaint. Prosecutors say McAdoo demanded money on a note he scribbled on the back of a casino sports betting sheet before making off with $2,731 in a paper grocery sack from the bank across the street from the federal courthouse where he's scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday.

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