BG bank robber gets 34-year prison term


William Brown Jr. was found guilty Wednesday on all eight counts in the July 2008 robbery at Fifth Third
Bank on North Main Street in Bowling Green and subsequent police chase.
Wood County Common Pleas Court Judge Kelsey proceeded directly to sentencing and gave the former Detroit
man a total of 34 years in prison.
Melissa Noe, one of the employees at the bank at the time of the crime, offered an emotional victim
impact statement prior to sentencing. She asked the judge to hand down the maximum sentence allowed.
"My life will never be the same," Noe told the court, recalling how she and the other employees
all faced countless sleepless nights.
"Even now I wake up and see that face," she added, sobbing through her statement.
Brown, 38, also spoke to the court regarding his situation.
"It was not my intent to hurt anyone. I am deeply sorry for the pain they feel as a result of my
actions," Brown told the court.
He also shared with the court some of his background in an attempt to describe his attitude and actions.
He shared stories of his childhood and asked for help to be rehabilitated.
"The true picture of William Brown has not been portrayed," he said.
Though admitting his actions were wrong, but noted he has written six books, and claimed he has a gift to
write.
Kelsey sentenced Brown to 10 years in prison for aggravated robbery and combined that with a second count
of robbery. He also was ordered to serve five years for each of three counts of kidnapping for forcing
the three bank employees to be detained or move against their will. Those terms were to be served
consecutive to each other and to the robbery. For his actions in the high speed chase, the charge was
failure to comply with an officer, and he was ordered to serve four years for that charge, also
consecutive to the other charges. For grand theft and grand theft auto, each sentence carried an
18-month prison term which is to be served concurrently with the robbery charge.
Based on prior convictions and prison time served in Michigan, Kelsey also applied the repeat violent
offender specification, which allowed for an additional five years to be imposed at to the sentence,
bringing the total to the 34-year figure.
Justin White of the Bowling Green Police Division had interrogated Brown the day after the robbery at the
Wood County jail.
White testified to the fact that Brown had revealed most of the details of his actions with the bank
robbery.
"He said he acted like he had a gun, but he had a screwdriver," White said.
The former Detroit resident also admitted to White taking the bank employee’s Ford Focus.
The defendant also told Brown that he and an Alexander Mehalley had planned the robbery together. The
other individual was waiting for Brown at a factory on Van Camp Road just down the road from the bank.
They wanted the money to publish a book. "This is exactly what I hoped would happen," Dobson
said after the sentencing.
He verified that Brown had previously been offered a plea deal with most of the charges being dropped in
exchange. The deal was for a significantly less amount of time. Brown and his attorney had declined that
offer.
"Hopefully we taught him and others a substantial lesson," Dobson said noting the seriousness
with which these charges were dealt with. "Stay out of my county."
Zografides disagreed with the length of the sentence.
"This is, in effect, a death sentence. He will be 72 before he is released," he said.
Photo caption: Story: William Brown in Wood County Common Please Court Wednesday.
Front page: William Brown (left) and attorney Christopher Zograffides Wednesday in court.
J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune