Attorneys representing two men who were sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in November of robbing a Carrollton bank are expected to demand a new trial today.
Judge Bill Hamrick sentenced Jonathan Quentin Irving and Chris Antoine Blackwell to life in prison in January for the April 29, 2013, armed robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank.
A Carroll County jury convicted the defendants of armed robbery, 13 counts of aggravated assault, theft by taking, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
In addition to the life sentences for armed robbery, Irving received a consecutive 25 years in prison while Blackwell received maximum concurrent sentences on the remaining charges.
Shawanda Brown, an attorney representing Irving, declined to comment on the motion, but confirmed that she is requesting a motion for a new trial in the case.
“It’s not surprising to have someone who was convicted on serious charges to file a motion for a new trial,” said Jeff Hunt, senior assistant district attorney. “They will often try to bring up technicalities and other things to try to get a new trial.”
During a trial that lasted five days, the jury heard testimony about two men entering the bank during business hours while there were 16 customers and employees present. The bank is at the corner of Bankhead Highway and Almon Road in Carrollton.
One man, who was later identified by a fingerprint as Gibran Ezell, is said to have entered the bank and produced a pistol, and fired a shot into the ceiling. The other man, who investigators were not able to identify, jumped over the counter, threatened the life of a teller, and demanded money from the cash drawer.
After taking the money, investigators said Ezell and the other robber fled from the bank in a getaway car which they immediately abandoned on a side street off of Almon Road. They were then picked up by Irving and Blackwell in a second getaway vehicle.
After a lengthy manhunt, officers caught Irving in Jackson County with the same firearm used in the robbery. Blackwell was caught from evidence developed by other witnesses.
Prior to the November 2015 trial, Ezell entered a guilty plea and testified against Irving and Blackwell. He has yet to be sentenced in the case and remains in the Carroll County Jail.