Man guilty in bank robbery

A Douglas County District Court jury deliberated for three hours Thursday before convicting a 27-year-old snowboarder of robbing a Minden bank branch at gunpoint.

Steven Simmons of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., was convicted of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon, and possession of a firearm with the serial number changed, altered or obliterated.

He faces up to 30 years in prison at his sentencing March 5 before Judge Michael Gibbons.

Simmons showed no emotion as the guilty verdicts were read at 6 p.m. by court clerk Bobbie Williams.

Simmons lawyer, Tod Young, said he would discuss options with his client prior to that date including an appeal or recommendations for sentencing.

"I'm sure Mr. Simmons is very disappointed," Young said. "He sat here very stoically throughout the trial and since the allegations were made. His demeanor is to take this in stride."

Simmons was arrested in a doghouse less than a mile from the Bank of America branch where the robbery occurred Nov. 22, 2005.

He was accused of taking $4,807 from the bank at gunpoint shortly before the close of business. A security video showed a suspect wearing dark clothing and a full-face mask carrying a plastic bag full of money and pointing a gun.

Tellers in the bank testified that the robber threatened to shoot and pointed the loaded gun at the head of one of the women.

The suspect ran out of the bank and deputies who arrived on the scene within seconds of the alarm spotted Simmons in a field, eventually finding him hiding in the doghouse.

Simmons pleaded not guilty, but did not testify during the three-day trial.

Investigators who interviewed Simmons said he claimed to have hitchhiked to Gardnerville from Mammoth Lakes on the day of the robbery, walked to Carson Valley Inn where he bought $40 worth of marijuana from a man in the parking lot, and was crossing the field when deputies showed up after the robbery.

He said he ran because he was afraid he would get in trouble for the marijuana.

He was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans when he was apprehended.

With the assistance of a canine officer, deputies found a blue backpack in the field which contained the money, a 9 mm Glock handgun, the face mask, gloves and other items associated with the bank robbery.

Prosecutor Michael McCormick offered testimony Thursday which tied Simmons' DNA to the items in the backpack.

"We believed all along he was the robber," McCormick said after the verdicts. "The jury carefully deliberated and came to a just decision. We are very grateful."

After the verdicts, Gibbons explained to the jury that a pre-sentence report would be prepared about Simmons prior to his sentencing that details his background.

The judge said the robbery charge carries a 2-15-year sentence, but the penalty is doubled because of use of a deadly weapon.

Simmons is ineligible for probation, Gibbons said.

The firearm charge carries up to four years in prison.

Two of the tellers who were at the bank during the robbery and testified at the trial listened to the verdicts.

Gibbons told them they could make victim impact statements at the sentencing.

After the verdicts, Simmons was returned to Douglas County Jail.

Gibbons ordered him held without bail.


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