One of accused Elba bank robbers agrees to guilty plea
Submitted by Howard Owens on August 25, 2009 - 2:26pm
BATAVIA, N.Y. -- Demone Dillon, one of three men accused of robbing the Elba M&T Bank on June 18, entered a guilty plea this afternoon to robbery in the second degree with a recommended prison term of 3 1/2 to 10 years.
As part of the plea bargain, Dillon agreed to testify in any trial of either of the co-defendants. He also agreed to acknowledge that his confessions the night of the alleged robbery are truthful.
Under oath, while being questioned by Judge Robert Noonan, Dillon admitted that he accompanied Michael Wells and Dennis Abrams to Elba on June 18 and that at the time he entered the vestibule of the bank, he knew the intention of Wells and Abrams was to hold up the branch.
Dillon said he held the door open because the two other suspects feared getting locked in, and he was also supposed to alert Wells and Abrams if he saw the police, but admitted he didn't watch too closely for the cops.
He also couldn't see what was going on in the branch office while the robbery was in progress, he said.
"Everybody admits he's the least culpable of the three," said his attorney, Richard R. Shaw II, after the hearing. "We think that for what he's charged with, this is a fair plea."
Shaw also said he believes at least one of the other co-defendants will soon enter a guilty plea.
The attorney for Abrams, Daniel Killelea, had a closed-door conference with District Attorney Lawrence Friedman and Judge Noonan this afternoon.
Thomas Burns, the attorney for Wells, recently filed a series of motions challenging the prosecution's case and requested a change of venue for a potential trial.
"I imagine they'll all eventually plea," Shaw said.
Dillon's bail was reduced to $250,000 cash OR $250,000 bond. Previously, it was set at $250,000 cash AND $500,000 bond.
Judge Noonan will sentence Dillon at a later date after a probation department review of the case and interviews with Dillon, family members and victims.