Convicted bank robber receives 50-year sentence

 

DOVER — A 46-year-old man was deemed a habitual offender and received 50 years in prison for a 2011 Felton area bank robbery on Thursday morning.

Russell M. Grimes was earlier described by pursuing police witnesses as the getaway driver after the First National Bank of Wyoming was robbed on Aug. 26, 2011.

Grimes was convicted on nine felony counts including first-degree robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, five counts of second-degree reckless endangering, second-degree conspiracy, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

In announcing the sentencing order, Superior Court Judge Robert B. Young described the case and defendant as “somewhat baffling to deal with” since Grimes appeared extremely articulate and bright, but also had a history of committing violent crimes that were “difficult to reconcile.”

Deputy Attorney General Susan Schmidhauser made a case for decades in prison as a habitual offender because Grimes “has throughout his life put a lot of people in danger.”

Also, the prosecutor maintained, “This offender is an extremely violent man.

“Society is only going to be protected if he is incarcerated.”

Speaking before the Court as his own counsel, Grimes sought full credit for over 200 days served so far since he believes the verdict against him will be vacated for a second time. Earlier, a conviction was overturned in Supreme Court due to issues involving co-defendant William Sells’ jury selection process. Sells later pleaded guilty to robbery and other offenses and was sentenced to a long prison stay.

Russell M. Grimes

“I know this seems fruitless, but it’s not because this since this case will be overturned again,” said Grimes, first declared a habitual offender in 2010 for other felonies.

Regarding the prosecution’s belief that he was a danger to the public if freed from prison, Grimes responded “I have nothing to do with what’s going on in society. I only have to do with what’s going on with me.”

The defendant asked the Court for transcripts from both his trials, and indicated intention to appeal his conviction.

Grimes was also sentenced to Level III probation following his prison stay on the reckless endangering and second-degree conspiracy counts, all to run concurrently for a year.

Several law enforcement officers involved in the post-bank robbery pursuit attended Thursday’s sentencing. Grimes was ordered to have no unlawful contact with the five of them unless police initiated it during the course of their duties. The no-contact order also extended to bank tellers present during the robbery, and their families.

Restitution of $54,288 was ordered to the bank now owned by M&T, with shared responsibility by co-defendant Sells.

Grimes is incarcerated at Howard R. Young Correctional Center in Wilmington.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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