MCNAIRY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - A Selmer man has been convicted of aggravated bank robbery and firearm charges.
After a three-day trial, a federal jury found 38-year-old Gene Allen Howell guilty of the crimes.
According to information presented in court, Howell robbed the Home Banking Company in Finger, Tennessee using a handgun in August 2017. He pointed the handgun at all three female employees and threatened to kill them if they did not comply with his commands.
He stole a utility vehicle from Selmer, which he rode to the bank and used thereafter to evade capture. The utility vehicle was later found abandoned in a wooded area.
On Oct. 14, 2017, Howell attempted to rob The Peoples Bank in Reagan, Tennessee using a pistol. He hid nearby, and tried to approach two employees as they arrived for work, but they had just entered the secure tellers’ area in the bank.
Unable to gain access to the teller area, Howell fired the pistol at the head of one of the employees, but she was protected by bullet resistant glass. Howell and his co-defendant, who served as the getaway driver, were arrested 10 days later in Alcorn County, Mississippi on drug charges.
Law enforcement found two pistols in Howell’s possession, including one used in the Reagan shooting, ammunition, and clothing worn during the robberies. The co-defendant testified against Howell at trial, and entered a guilty plea.
Howell faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 17 years imprisonment on the firearms charges, which will run consecutively to a sentence of up to 25 years on the bank robbery charges.